The 2012 NBA Draft is only a couple weeks away and teams are having prospects come in for personal workouts. Teams want to see the player workout in person, but they also do a lot of medical tests by their team doctor. If a negative results comes from the workout or physical exam, a player could drop a lot in the draft. It is something that usually sticks until they have a breakout game in the NBA.
Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger has been going through a rotating door of NBA Lottery teams. He has visited New Orleans Hornets, Golden State Warriors, and Portland Trail Blazers with upcoming visits to Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Detroit Pistons.
ESPN is reporting that numerous team doctors have found something in Sullinger’s physical examination. What is alleged problem? Could this be the reason for Sullinger’s poor play against Kansas in the NCAA Tournament.
Sources are telling ESPN that multiple team doctor have reported that Sullinger’s back could shorten his NBA career. Some team doctors have even advised their team to not draft him in the first round (First round draft picks have guaranteed contracts unlike Second round picks).
The specific injury appears to be a set of bulging discs in Sullinger’s back. His agent, David Falk, didn’t comment on ESPN’s article. His father Satch Sullinger told ESPN that the bulging area was due to his hamstring and quads being so tight. He says that it pulled on his hip flexor, but his son has been taking care of it with yoga and deep tissue massage.
DeJuan Blair had a lot of negative buzz going into the 2009 NBA Draft because of his lack of ACLs in both knees. He wasn’t picked until the beginning of the second round because every team was scared to give him a guaranteed contract. Blair went on to have a good rookie season with the San Antonio Spurs and has been a solid player in the NBA.
I have been a fan of Sullinger’s since I saw him play his freshman year. He had some explosion going to the hoop and I was expecting big things from him. My opinion started to become less favorable towards the end of his freshman year and throughout his entire sophomore season at Ohio State. He was playing below the rim and did not seem to have a vertical jump of more than 12 inches. The explosion wasn’t there and I suspected a nagging injury to be the problem. He had less than stellar reviews from his predraft agility tests. I hope this is an issue that can be resolved and we see the player who was lights out during the first half of his freshman year.
In my NBA mock draft, I have Sullinger drafted #12 by the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee has yet to have him in for a workout and with this news, he could free fall out of the first round. I don’t believe that will happen, but he may drop out of the Lottery. If a team is serious about drafting him, they will make sure to get a second opinion and even a third.
I believe that Sullinger’s “ceiling” is a more offensively gifted Anthony Mason. If his becomes and issue and he has weight issues in the NBA, his basement is Sean May.
I’m hoping the Phoenix Suns draft him and their training staff can work another miracle.