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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics addressed their biggest need in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, but did so by adding a few questions marks in Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo.
SI’s Chris Mannix joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Friday morning, and said both players are risks worth taking.
“I thought they did exceptionally well. I thought they were one of the top winners of the draft,” Mannix said of the C’s. “They needed to get bigger, no question about it. I understand sometimes you take the best player on the board, but they needed size in the worst way.”
“Jared Sullinger is a guy I didn’t like much, because I didn’t think he was worthy of a lottery pick – back or no back. I thought there were significant flaws that if you took him at seven, you would probably be disappointed,” he said. “But if you get him where Boston got him at 21, suddenly you have a guy with lottery talents that you can potentially mold.”
“When you look at the 20’s, you’re not going to get a clear-cut proven player. You’re not going to get someone that will be able to step in and play right away,” said Mannix. “Everyone carries with them some risks, and Fab Melo is no different. But Melo already has a unique shot blocking ability for that draft. He is a capable defender with good defensive instincts. He needs to put on some weight and needs to be molded offensively, but if you give him a couple of years he has the potential to develop into a starting center in the NBA. Those are a rare commodity these days.”
“If these guys can be developed correctly with Doc Rivers, I think they hit a home run,” Mannix said of the picks.
Having Kevin Garnett around for another year or two would mean wonders for Sullinger and Melo’s development, even just by practicing with KG. But Mannix isn’t sure where Garnett is leaning — if he is coming back or going to retire — and the last he heard KG was hanging them up.
“I wrote it about a month ago that I thought Garnett was leaning towards retirement. He was telling friends that he was leaning towards retirement,” said Mannix. “I have yet to hear anything different, which is more my position. He could have changed his mind, could be leaning in a different direction, and I’m sure once you get some separation from the season and your body starts to heal, the prospect of coming back is that much more appealing.”
“In talking to the same people I talked to the first time around, I haven’t heard anything different… that being said, no one is inside the mind of Kevin Garnett. No one knows exactly what he is thinking, but right now, it remains a distinct possibility that KG walks away,” said Mannix.
“I still think Kevin is mulling this decision,” said Mannix. “Right now it’s the ultimate fluid situation.”