BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics ended up holding on to their two first-rounders in the 2012 NBA Draft, adding some size in the process.
With the 21st pick, the Celtics selected Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger, who watched his draft stock drop because of back issues. In his two years with the Buckeyes, he proved to be a very strong and smart player.
“Obviously we needed to address size,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said from Newark. “The fact that number one, Jared Sullinger fell to us, is just fortunate. Last year he would have a been a top-5 pick. It gives us a rebounder, a high IQ player, a good player, a really good player from the outside.”
Sullinger averaged 17.5 points for Ohio State last season, shooting 52-percent from the floor. He’s a bit undersized at 6-8 and 268 lbs — making him a man without a true position in the NBA — but should give the Celtics some help on the boards after averaging 9.2 and 10.2 rebounds over his two years at Ohio State.
Many are seeing the pick as a “low risk, high reward move.” Depending on what happens with free agents Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass, Sullinger could he coming off the bench his rookie season, or starting for a re-building Celtics team.
With the very next pick, Boston chose 7-foot center Fab Melo out of Syracuse 22nd overall. Although not known for having a high basketball IQ, Melo is a strong shot blocker that will give the Celtics the big body they need out of the center position — even if it is off the bench.
“He has size and we like size, we needed size,” Rivers said of Melo. “It gives us the chance to work with him. We think he can be a good player.”
Melo’s stock took a hit after he was ruled ineligible for the NCAA Tournament last March, but if there is any coach that can get the kid’s head on straight it is likely Doc.
In the second round, the Celtics chose Melo’s college teammate, Syracuse forward Kris Joseph.