Celtics take gambles, add size with questionable players

Celtics take gambles, add size with questionable players
June 29, 2012, 2:37 am
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BOSTON The Boston Celtics used their two first-round picks to add a pair of questionable players who they believe will be the answer to what has ailed the C's frontcourt for years.

Jared Sullinger, a top-10 talent from Ohio State that slipped into the latter part of the first round after being red-flagged for having back problems, was scooped up by the Celtics with the No. 21 pick.

An inconsistent effort on a number of nights led to Fab Melo, a 7-foot defensive standout at Syracuse, being available for the taking at No. 22.

"We needed to address size," said C's coach Doc Rivers via a teleconference call from Newark, N.J. where his son, Austin, was drafted with the No. 10 pick by New Orleans.

Of the two, clearly the addition of Sullinger was considered the bigger haul.

"The fact that Jared Sullinger fell to us, is just fortunate," Rivers said. "Last year he would have been a top-5 pick and all this year, he was a top-10 pick. The fact that he just kept falling to us it gives us a rebounder, high IQ player, great passer and a very good shooter from the outside."

As far as Sullinger's back, Rivers said the C's have talked with a number of medical officials prior to feeling comfortable with selecting the 6-foot-9, 280-pound forward.

"We feel pretty good about it," Rivers said, referring to Sullinger's back. "Obviously we're going to have to watch it and make sure he gets the right treatment all the time. But I played 13 years with a bad back, and I was OK and I think he will too."

Rivers added, "All of the doctors that we talked to, gave clearance. That's fine by us."

As for Melo, it's clear that his selection was more about developing a player with potential, then adding an immediate impact player.

"He has size. We needed size. This gives us a chance to work with him," Rivers said. "We think he could be a good player."

Sullinger, who left Ohio State after two seasons, averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game and was a first-team All Big Ten performer each of his two seasons for the Buckeyes.

Melo, who also left college after two seasons, was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year this past season. Along with his 7.8 points per game, he also averaged 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks while shooting 56.6 points per game.