The red flag that some NBA doctors have assigned to Ohio State prospect Jared Sullinger should become enough to keep the Portland Trail Blazers away. There is a growing concern for Sullinger's back, with some feeling that the issues he is having could end up shortening his NBA career. I think that with the recent injury problems the Blazers have experienced with Greg Oden and Brandon Roy that no consideration should get given to drafting Sullinger unless he falls to the second round.
Sullinger could possibly become a great NBA talent, especially if he can live up to the promise that many analysts saw from him at Ohio State University. It's possible that his talent could translate to stardom in the NBA, but now it also seems very possible that he could end up being a bust if those back issues continue to crop up. This is why the NBA has team doctors look at all prospects before the draft takes place, and those findings could end up causing him to plummet in the pre-draft rankings.
Sullinger averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game for the Buckeyes last season, shooting 51.9 percent from the field. He has always been a great rebounder, seemed pretty intelligent on the basketball court and has good instincts at both ends. There are issues that have come up as well, including that he seems a bit undersized at times and that his conditioning wasn't always up to par. Those are negatives that many players can overcome though, so it still looked like Sullinger would become a lottery pick as of last week.
I think that the Blazers really need to focus on getting a center and a point guard in the draft and that the team should not consider picking up Sullinger when he is still on the board at No. 11. Most NBA mock drafts have had Sullinger getting selected before that point, but it's also very possible that he could drop out of the first round after these medical revelations. Teams drafting late in the first round that already have a lot of depth could take a risk and come out on top with Sullinger, but I really think that he has become the type of risk that Portland has to avoid.
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*Ryan is a Northwest bred sports fan that has been a Portland Trail Blazers fan for years. He has high hopes that the Blazers can make it to the Western Conference Playoffs again next year.
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