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Winderman: Heat official explains why teams take medical red flags seriously

Jun 27, 2012, 11:00 PM EDT

Ohio State Buckeyes forward Jared Sullinger sits on the court after the Buckeyes were defeated by the Kansas Jayhawks in the men's NCAA Final Four semi-final college basketball game in New Orleans Reuters

Sometimes it take a neutral, third party to offer perspective, a party that has no stake in what others might consider manipulation.

So amid heightened concern that Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger is free-falling from what most previously viewed as a lottery fate due to concerns about a bad back, now not even invited to Thursday’s green room, Chet Kammerer, the Heat’s vice president of player personnel, was asked Wednesday about pre-draft red flags and the degree they are heeded.

Unlike others who have opined, including many who would benefit by a potential Sullinger freefall, the Heat draft at No. 27, and Sullinger is not falling that far.

While not asked directly about Sullinger, Kammerer was asked about how those red flags factor into the process.

A lot, apparently.

“We take that pretty seriously,” Kammerer said of such medical red flags. “We’re still in the kind of in the review stages, to really get the latest information on two or three players.

“But I think it’s real. I think there are two or three guys probably, that will probably slip in the draft because of the medical issues that they have.”

What Kammerer said it mostly does is change career expectation.

“It’s proven, like Brandon Roy for example, just to use an example,” he said.  “He was one of those guys that was really a high risk. I mean, he ended up having some really, really good years.”

Essentially, it comes down to how long a view a team is taking, especially with draft rules now allowing teams to escape relatively early into a first-round pick’s contract.

“Most of the time those players are still able to play,” Kammerer said, “but the length of their careers are definitely altered because of things that are a part of their history.”

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

  1. captainwisdom8888 - Jun 27, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    The NBA is a land of magically-gifted athletes…and if you don’t fall into that category you better have a pretty jumper or some other type of undeniably-effective skillset. I wasn’t high on Sully even BEFORE the back problems came into the picture, and now I wouldn’t touch this guy with a 10-foot pole.

  2. readysethike - Jun 28, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    gronk also had a bad back coming out of college…look how well that turned out

  3. noahbird - Jun 28, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    I just read this a second time and decided that you are drunk, Ira.

  4. rodgersmvp - Jun 28, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    What did you expect? He posted this at 11:00 and he lives in Miami…

    • finsfan71 - Jun 28, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      He also picked the Thunder in 6. I think he’s originally from the northeast.

    • canehouse - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      yep… and the party is still going on… will be going on for quite a long time!!!

  5. Reggie's Bush - Jun 28, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    Even if a player doesn’t last 10 years in the NBA, doesn’t it make fiscal sense to think of it as signing a solid free agent for relatively cheap for 2-3 years?

    Some people are healthy and flame out of the league anyway, might as well get some production

    What am I missing?

  6. finsfan71 - Jun 28, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    Ira, love you buddy. But I think Club Liv has taken its toll. Get some rest.

  7. knightrider1755 - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Sullinger should have been in last year’s draft instead of returning to OSU for another year. Would’ve gone in the top 5.

    • eddiecrash1976 - Jun 28, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      I actually think he shouldve stayed out of this years draft and develop his game more. He still needs alot of work, he needs to sharpen up some of those skills.

  8. imforbigblue - Jun 28, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    He was a good player in college but he wasn’t as great as many ppl want you to think. I think he will be a mid level player in the nba but never a all star if he stays healthy

    • eddiecrash1976 - Jun 28, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      I agree. I saw alot of his games, he has some holes in it. I still don’t think he is NBA ready but hey you never know. He’s not as crisp as people would have you believe.

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