Sixers could face tough decision on Sullinger
As recently as a week ago, there seemed little question that Ohio State power forward Jared Sullinger would be among the first 10 players selected in Thursday’s NBA draft.
Then ESPN.com reported that concerns about Sullinger’s back had led some teams to sour on him – that he might fall out of the lottery and be available when the Sixers make the 15th overall selection.
That’s interesting, since the the 6-9, 268-pound Sullinger could be the best back-to-the-basket player in the entire draft. He is, a scout told CSNPhilly.com, “a walking double-double.”
“They don’t grow on trees,” said the scout, speaking under the condition of anonymity.
Sullinger averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds for the Buckeyes as a sophomore last season, and 17.3 points and 9.7 boards in his two years on campus. And for the record, neither his dad, Satch, nor his agent, David Falk, believe his health is of great concern. Satch told ESPN.com that a “tight hamstring and tight quads” had led to some problems, but that his son was dealing with it with the help of stretching, deep-tissue massage and yoga.
Falk also said, in an interview with SI.com, that the problem was with Sullinger’s hamstrings, adding that he will have to “maintain vigilance with his flexibility.” If he does that and keeps his weight at a reasonable level, Falk said, “He should have no problems over the next 15 years.”
Falk represents current Sixers Elton Brand and Evan Turner – and Turner also went to Ohio State, though his career did not overlap with Sullinger’s. Whether any of that matters is open to speculation.
But certainly the Sixers should have as good a read on this as anybody. Certainly they could face an interesting decision -- one it did not appear they would have to make, as recently as a week ago.Gordie Jones is an
award-winning journalist who has worked in the Philadelphia market for
29 years. He also co-authored a book about the 76ers' 1982-83
championship team with former Sixers general manager Pat Williams.