Danny Ainge and the Celtics wasted no time addressing their team’s needs up front. With the possibility of Kevin Garnett becoming a free agent, as well as Brandon Bass’ decision to opt out of his player option, Boston needed to add some height to its roster.
The Celtics had back-to-back picks at 21 and 22, and they selected Jared Sullinger out of Ohio State and Fab Melo of Syracuse.
Sullinger (6′, 9″) averaged 17 points in each of his two seasons as a Buckeye, with just about 10 rebounds per game for his freshman and sophomore years. A back injury last year kept him out of the lineup at times, and Ohio State was a completely different team with him on the court than without.
Sullinger, who was projected as a top five pick if he was in last year’s draft, dropped on the board because of the concern surrounding his health problems. However, Boston decided to take the risk and hope for a high reward.
According to WEEI.com:
“When the day started, I did not think he would be there at 21. We’re fortunate to get him,” Ainge said. “We were concerned and we did our research on the back issues and felt comfortable, but there are some issues there. Our medical staff thinks that short term and long term there may be some maintenance issues with the back. Doc Rivers played with a herniated disk for 13 years. So it may need surgery at some point, it may not.”