NBA Draft 2012: Jared Sullinger Could Be Falling....Right Past Atlanta

What?

From ESPN's Chad Ford, it looks as if Ohio State's Jared Sullinger (They went to Jared!) got medically red-flagged for his bad back, indicating that his NBA life expectancy might be shorter than one might hope from a lottery pick.

Sullinger, who is projected to be a lottery pick in the draft on June 28, underwent a series of medical tests at the draft combine a week ago. A number of NBA team doctors have reviewed the information from the NBA and have told their front office staff that Sullinger's back issues could shorten his NBA career, and some have advised their teams not to draft him in the first round. .

Wow. From lottery to the second round .... Hmmmmm, who else does this sound like?

On the downside, Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair has to be bummed. Blair looked solid in the drills and really impressed teams with his weight loss and tone. He also measured short, but his wingspan, standing reach and athletic abilities made up for much of it.

However, the news became much grimmer for Blair when the results of the medical testing came back. Multiple NBA teams are saying Blair's knees have been red-flagged.

Blair tore both of his ACLs in high school, and the preliminary word from the physicals is that his knees aren't in great shape.

Whether the concern ends up being a small or large factor in Blair's draft stock, it's a shame when you consider the momentum he has had since the season ended. With so few bigs in the draft, he was looking at being a potential late lottery pick. That now seems less likely. Although being red-flagged isn't necessarily a death knell to your draft stock (remember all the concerns about Greg Oden two years ago), it could deter a team in the lottery from taking the risk.

Before Hawks fans get excited about possibly having Sullinger available at #23, remember that Atlanta passed on Blair to take Jeff Teague before Blair was snagged by the Spurs in the second round after 36 other draft slots had passed.

But could the situations be different this draft season?

The Hawks aren't playing the future, they're playing for the right now -- so Sullinger's short term NBA career wouldn't have as much an impact on a team that was exposed in front court depth after Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia both got hurt -- not to mention if Sullinger fell that low he would be in "best player available" territory.

Exit Question: If Sullinger falls that fall -- do you think the Hawks would take him -- and would you want them to?

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