NBA Draft Live Blog: Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo Steals for Celtics, But Hornets Remain Big Winners

NBA Draft Live Blog: Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo Steals for Celtics, But Hornets Remain Big Winners

Final, 2012 NBA Draft: The draft is finally finished and it appears that the Celtics made out like bandits with their three selections in this year's edition.

Danny Ainge and the C's didn't quite get Austin Rivers — he went No. 10 to the Hornets — but they were able to scoop up some solid prospects with their two first picks and solo second round selection.

Doc Rivers will have the pleasure of coaching up the likes of Ohio State standout Jared Sullinger and Syracuse center Fab Melo.

Both guys have big questions surrounding them, but give Sullinger the right training staff — Ed Lacerte can help there — and Melo the proper motivation — hello, Doc and KG! — and these guys should turn into studs.

Kris Joseph offers another good player at the wing for the C's, and should help with some depth going forward.

Meanwhile, the big winners of the draft appear to be the Hornets — you could've guessed that though, right? New Orleans got their hands on not only perennial All-Star Anthony Davis but also Austin Rivers and even Kentucky standout Darius Miller in the second round.

A night full of trades, grades and speculation is now over, but it's time for these players to don the jerseys and actually take their games to the floor.

12:00 a.m.: The Lakers finally get a pick — the last one at that — and they took a Canadian!

Well, he's actually from Gonzaga. Robert Sacre gets the Mr. Irrelevant tag in this year's draft. If he's anything like the No. 60 pick from 2011 — Isiaah Thomas — then he's in for one hell of a rookie season.

11:52 p.m.: Great to see Robbie Hummel get picked in the second round of the draft.

Even if it were No. 58, Hummel had a tumultuous few years at Purdue, tearing both ACL's after a stellar first three seasons with the Boilermakers.

In his return to the team in 2011, Hummell was able to help the Boilermakers make an NCAA tournament run and averaged 16.3 points and 7.1 rebounds.

11:40 p.m.: Finally, a non-foreigner comes off the board.

Marquette makes it two in this year's class. Doc Rivers must be proud of his alma mater.

After Jae Crowder got taken early in the second round, it seemed that Darius Johnson-Odom was a lock to be soon thereafter. But it took more than 20 picks , all the way to No. 55, for Johnson-Odom to finally come off the board.

The 23-year-old lit it up for the Golden Eagles in 2011-12, scoring 18.5 points and hitting on 39 percent of his three pointers during his junior season.

11:29 p.m.: Celtic green may well be turning orange.

The C's picked up another Syracuse big man at No. 51 in the second round, adding to their haul with both Sullinger and Cuse center Fab Melo in the first.

Joseph was a big player for the Orange over his four years in Syracuse. He averaged 13.8 points and 4.9 rebounds during his senior season in 2011-12.

The 6-foot-7 forward is a decent rebounder with strength in his mid-range jumper and occasional 3-point shot.

11:24 p.m.: The absolute distraught look of Knicks fans after drafting foreign players is always one of my favorite parts of the draft.

I don't know who Kostas Papanikolaou is, nor do I really care. But the fact that he brought about so much anger and frustration from the rabid Knicks crowd gave me great pleasure.

Thanks, Knicks front office, for almost always providing me with a moment of pleasure during the late rounds of the draft!

11:16 p.m.: Darius Miller is a good pick for the Hornets, but he's a more significant pick for the history of the NBA Draft.

Miller becomes the sixth pick out of Kentucky in the 2012 draft, which marks a league record in the draft.

Miller, Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Jones, Teague and Doron Lamb make it six. Quite the accomplishment from that draft class and it should do even more for John Calipari at Kentucky.

11:12 p.m.: The Heat finally get a big man, just not a well known one.

Justin Hamilton, a center from LSU, was selected at No. 45 by the 76ers. But the pick is part of a proposed trade that is going to the Heat for No. 27 of the first round.

11:04 p.m.: The Blazers just making a run on guards, here. But it looks like Tyshawn Taylor will be shipped to Brooklyn.

After the Blazers snagged Will Barton at No. 40, they also selected Taylor with the pick immediately after. But following the selection of Weber state guard Damian Lillard at No. 6, it would have been unusual to keep all three.

Luckily, the Nets swooped in and snagged Taylor for themselves. I'm assuming as a solid backup to Deron Willams — God willing he returns to the Nets.

10:53 p.m.: Shocker! Another Baylor player gets picked, but certainly not the one most expected.

Quincy Acy goes No. 37 overall to the Toronto Raptors. But while Acy is a beast on the interior –and someone who loves to dunk the ball — it was Quincy Miller who was anticipated to be a much earlier pick than the older Acy.

But at least Miller was taken a pick later. The Nuggets scooped up Miller, who has concerns due to an ACL tear in high school, at No. 38. He's got the talent to be a big-time scorer in the NBA but he's definitely got some work to do if he wants to establish himself as a legitimate player.

10:46 p.m.: Two Celtics hopefuls go back-to-back in the early going of the second round.

Jae Crowder, a talented two guard, and Draymond Green a burly forward get swooped up at No. 34 and No. 35.

Crowder will be joining James with the Mavs while Green is headed for the Bay Area with Golden State.

Green's the typical undersized power forward with the motivation of a mule. And Crowder's underrated and could well be the next Wesley Matthews, who not coincidentally is also a Marquette product.

10:40 p.m.: Crowd chanting "USA, USA" as Florida State forward Bernard James gets taken by the Cavaliers — but actually the Mavs — at No. 33.

James spent a few years in Iraq with the U.S. Army before signing on to play with the Seminoles.

James is a defensive beast and a shot-blocking guru. He has some great upside and definitely has the work ethic to be a solid starter in the NBA.

Either way, a great story for James and a great moment to support our troops.

10:34 p.m.: The run on Vanderbilt players continues to kick off the start of the second round.

Charlotte snagged Vandy forward Jeffrey Taylor at No. 31 and should bolster the Bobcats defense.

Taylor isn't quite a dominant player in any specific part of his game, but he's got the ability to be a solid role player and even a decent starter at some point in the next few years.

10:27 p.m.: Festus Ezeli rounds things out in the first round of the draft.

Golden State made out well in this year with a pair of solid players. Harrison Barnes is a legitimate steal at No.8 and Ezeli may not be an All-Star at any point in his career but the big man is a definite starter and could have an impact in the middle.

Ezeli learning behind Andrew Bogut could be a big help as well, as the two would solidify the middle of the Warriors defense for years to come.

10:25 p.m.: The Bulls fill a bit of a need with Marquis Teague at No. 29.

With Derrick Rose likely sidelined for much of the 2012-13 season in recovery of an ACL tear, Teague will definitely help C.J. Watson in the back court and solidify some depth for Chicago.

Teague didn't have the best freshman season at Kentucky, but he did look great in the tournament and even may have catapulted himself into the first round with that performance.  We'll see if he pans out to be an All-Star like he was expected before entering college.

10:19 p.m.: Trades are Heating up, here — see what I did there.

The Miami Heat have reportedly sent Moultrie, their pick at No.27, to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN. 

Moultrie was moved in exchange for the Sixers second rounder, No. 45 overall, and a future first round pick.

10:15 p.m.: The wait is over for Perry Jones III.

The NBA Finals runner-up Oklahoma City Thunder took Jones finally at no. 28.

Jones, an expected Top 10 pick in 2011, sat in the green room for quite a  while and you could see the crowd excited for him when he finally got picked.

He's got the ability to be an All-Star in the NBA, but his motor and consistency could keep from reaching his potential in the long run.

Either way a great pick for a still developing OKC team, who is expected to have some tough decisions with James Harden and Serge Ibaka heading toward free agency in the next two years.

10:10 p.m.: LeBron gets some help, although it looks like it could take some time for Arnette Moultrie to develop.

Moultrie has some great potential on the interior, and at 6-foot-11 and 233 pounds he's got the size to help the Heat in the middle — which they desperately need.

It doesn't appear that Moultrie will be of big help in the Heat's repeat season, but he'll at least give them some depth and allow them to develop a true big man down the line.

10:05 p.m.: Ahh, I hate Duke so much!

Miles Plumlee — yes, one of those Plumlees — gets selected at No. 26. Indiana is getting an athletic big man with the ability to shoot from 15 feet, but man do I dislike Plumlee.

It's definitely a personal vendetta, but I just can't find it in me to root for any Duke player.

Heat are up next, we'll see who they get to complement LeBron and Wade en route to their title defense.

9:57 p.m.: Memphis looks like they'll take Tony Wroten Jr. from Washington, who is likely a replacement for free agent O.J. Mayo.

But the big surprise of this draft so far has been how far Perry Jones III has fallen.

Jones was a surefire Top 10 pick in 2011, but deciding to return to Baylor for his sophomore season seems to have done him in.

If PJ III can find the drive to really reach the ceiling of his potential then he'll be an absolute steal this late in the draft. His potential says something along the lines of Kevin Garnett, but his inconsistency in attitude and production last year has definitely had a big impact on his draft stock.

9:54 p.m.: The Cavs officially drafted Jared Cunningham, but in reality they were picking for the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavs traded No. 17 overall pick Tyler Zeller to the Cavs earlier in the night for Cleveland's No. 23, 33 and 34.

Cunningham's a big combo guard at 6-foot-4, and he's got the athleticism and handle to play the two-guard in the NBA. But in all likelihood the Oregon State product will play the off guard in the early years of his career with the opportunity to be the point guard of the future for the Mavs down the line.

9:48 p.m.: The Hawks get their much-needed sharpshooter at No. 23.

John Jenkins is arguably the best shooter in this year's draft and could be a much better J.J. Reddick if given the time to develop.

Jenkins was a leader on the Vanderbilt team in both of their past two NCAA runs and can straight fill it up.

He'll be a good seventh or eighth option off the bench for Atlanta as a rookie. He won't be winning the Rookie of the Year award, but don't be surprised if he hits six or seven 3-pointers in games on multiple occasions during his first year.

9:37 p.m.: With the 21st pick, the Celtics took a post player guaranteed to be a solid pro, even if his ceiling is low. With the 22nd pick, they went with a promising yet risky player.

One selection after drafting Jared Sullinger, the Celtics took Syracuse's Fab Melo. The Celtics have filled the frontcourt needs they exhibited last season.

NESN.com new media editor Luke Hughes will be taking you home from here, as Ben Watanabe heads off to see what the Celtics have to say about their new picks.

9:32 p.m.: If anybody had told the Celtics they would draft Jared Sullinger, they would have been ecstatic.

Boston was the team that overlooked the medical red flags and grabbed Sullinger at No. 21, way down from where he was projected to be just two weeks ago.

This could be the steal of the draft if Sullinger ends up proving the medical reports wrong.

9:28 p.m.: Evan Fournier, a French shooting guard who was mentioned in connection with the Celtics early on in the process, went to Denver at No. 20. Celtics are on the clock twice.

9:23 p.m.: If the Nuggets like Arnett Moultrie as much as some people believe, Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones III would be available for the Celtics at Nos. 21 and 22.

That is not to say they would pick those two (Will Barton could be there, too), but the Magic taking St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson takes another presumptive Celtics target out of the equation.

Nicholson makes sense either with or without Howard. He is a good inside and outside scorer as a power forward, although Howard would help hide Nicholson's rebounding and defensive deficiencies.

9:18 p.m.: Be prepared to hear this phrase a lot from here on: "A player who would have gone higher if talent alone was the measure…"

Terrence Jones, a player who would have gone higher if talent alone was the measure, was taken 18th by the Rockets. Jones has ample skills but was inconsistent in putting them all to use at Kentucky, but he joins Lamb and White as part of an impressive draft haul for the Rockets.

9:14 p.m.: Reports indicate the Mavericks have shipped Zeller to Cleveland for picks 24, 33 and 34.

9:11 p.m.: Tyler Zeller, a hard-playing center out of North Carolina, somehow was available at No. 17. The Mavericks might not have understood it, but they did not seem to complain. Zeller could end up merely being a trade chip, but the Mavs took him quickly and did not ask questions.

Moving within four picks of the Celtics' slots, there are still plenty of good big men available even with Zeller going to Dallas. Andrew Nicholson, Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones III (although he is not a prototypical 6-foot-11 player) are in waiting.

9:05 p.m.: One Celtics possibility went off the board when Royce White went to the Rockets at No. 16.

The Rockets were always going to be a wild card if they could not swing a trade for Howard. Their plan was to compile picks and make a trade with Orlando. Barring that, they were destined to be unpredictable.

White is an outstanding all-around player, particularly passer, who apparently answered questions about his anxiety disorder to Houston's satisfaction. The Celtics had been linked to White at either No. 21 or 22.

8:59 p.m.: The Sixers were flush with front court wing players with athleticism and no true position, so it figured that they would go with center Tyler Zeller at No. 15. Instead, they added yet another athletic frontcourt wing with no obvious position.

Maurice Harkless, a freshman out of St. John's, was the Sixers' puzzling pick. Guaranteed that few knowledgable fans in Philly are happy about this one.

8:51 p.m.: Someone on Twitter alerted us to the fact that the Bucks could have both John Henson and Larry Sanders, and we assume they did not mean this guy and this guy.

Milwaukee did not disappoint, grabbing the Tar Heel shot-blocker at No. 14. With Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis in the backcourt, the Bucks needed bigs who could defend and did not need the ball in their hands on offense. With the acquisition of Sammy Dalembert and Henson to add to Sanders, the Bucks now have that.

8:48 p.m.: If Steve Nash departs this offseason, the Suns are prepared. Phoenix took North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall at No. 13, claiming a capable distributor and floor general. Still, it was somewhat surprising to see Tyler Zeller and John Henson both available as the draft approaches its midway point. Marshall is not even in Newark for the draft.

8:42 p.m.: Jeremy Lamb's disappointing sophomore season at UConn appeared to cost him about four draft slots.

Lamb supposedly was a top-10 pick, and possibly top eight, but as the pre-draft process went on more and more teams got worried about his puzzling season with the Huskies. Lamb never took control in Kemba Walker's absence as many expected, and he seemed caught between being a point guard and a shooting guard at times. There was no question about his talent, though, and the Rockets appear willing to stock up on three solid-yet-unspectacular players after being unable to swing a trade for Dwight Howard.

8:36 p.m.: There were some doubts as to whether Meyers Leonard was up to the pressure of being a top 10 pick. How about top 11?

The promising 7-foot-1 Illini went to Portland, which already addressed its point guard issue at No. 6. Leonard will be able to work alongside LaMarcus Aldridge, the second-best power forward in the game.

Scouts have wondered if Leonard has the "nastiness" necessary to be effective in the NBA. We shall see.

8:28 p.m.: The Rivers family is set to have a nice night.

Austin Rivers went No. 10 to the Hornets, where he will be reunited in a way with Monty Williams. As a forward with the Magic, Williams was one of coach Doc Rivers' hardest-working players. Now Williams will get to guide both Davis and Rivers into the early parts of their pro careers. Quite a story.

Doc Rivers appeared to momentarily put on a Hornets hat, but he told a TV reporter he quickly took it off.

8:22 p.m.: Somewhere in the first round, it figured that someone was going to take a chance on Andre Drummond. The Pistons took that chance.

The Pistons apparently could not turn down the opportunity to pair Greg Monroe and Drummond in the post. Drummond could be a generation-defining big man, either as a legend or a cautionary tale. If Drummond is motivated, he would more than make up for Monroe's defensive shortcomings down low.

8:16 p.m.: The Raptors threw a lot of people for a loop by nabbing Terrence Ross at No. 8. With Austin Rivers still available, many seemed to assume Toronto would grab the Dukie.

But Ross, out of Washington, was a surprise pick. Few experts expected Ross to go higher than the middle of the first round, and more often he was projected in the late 20s. If the Raptors wanted him, they almost certainly could have traded back (like to, say, No. 21 or 22) and gotten Ross later.

That could drop Rivers to 10th at the highest, since Detroit is not believed to want a wing.

8:11 p.m.: Harrison Barnes, once hailed as the next Kobe Bryant, fell to No. 7, where the Golden State Warriors had to be ecstatic to see him fall into their laps.

For what it is worth, the "first" Kobe Bryant went No. 13 to the Hornets.

Barnes has been described as always having a pro mentality, which is why some believe he will be much better in the NBA after two disappointing seasons at North Carolina. He is an athlete (isn't everybody?) and his outside shooting is better than a lot of people insist, but he seldom generated his own shot with the Tar Heels.

8:05 p.m.: The Blazers address one of their biggest needs by taking Weber State point guard Damian Lillard at No. 6. Lillard is an athletic point guard with a scorer's mentality, but many scouts believe he will focus more on getting his teammates involved once he is out of the Big Sky conference.

7:59 p.m.: Thomas Robinson got his time.

Robinson, who was regularly "mocked" at No. 2, was picked up at No. 5 by the Kings. Five picks in, and there have been no trades, even though three of the first five picks were the subject of multiple trade rumors in the lead-up to the draft.

Robinson has gotten a lot of criticism for his demeanor and lack of a track record of dominance, but in his junior year as a Jayhawk, he was a beast. He would form a formidable — and ill-tempered — front line with DeMarcus Cousins.

7:55 p.m.: The illustrious Adrian Wojnarowski did it again. Dion Waiters went to Cleveland, just as the Yahoo! Sports reporter predicted on Twitter. Not that this was a huge jump or anything. Behind Beal, Waiters was widely considered the best lead guard in this draft — yes, better than Austin Rivers, people.

7:48 p.m.: Bradley Beal might be the most popular player not named Anthony Davis in this draft. It was difficult to find anybody who disliked Beal's floor or ceiling, and he should be a starting two-guard in the league for many years.

7:43 p.m.: The first surprise of the night lasted all the way to the second pick.

The Charlotte Bobcats, who were most often projected to pick Kansas' Thomas Robinson is they did not trade the pick, scooped up Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Kidd-Gilchrist does not have the game skills that show up in a workout, but he is a strong athlete and a proven winner and leader. Those latter qualities are exactly what the Bobcats organization needs. A jumper can be fixed. A motor cannot, most of the time.

Also, with David and MKG going No. 1 and 2, this marks the first time in draft history where players from the same college team went with the top two overall picks.

7:37 p.m.: With the first pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Hornets took Anthony Davis.

Davis is considered a cannot-miss talent and a cannot-miss kid. Remember what it was like in junior high? Somehow, Davis embraced his unibrow as a teenager, when the taunts had to be relentless, instead of giving in to peer pressure. (He was not always a basketball star, after all.) The fact that he stood up and said, "This eyebrow is a part of me," shows unusual confidence and character in a kid.

7:36 p.m.: David Stern predictably got booed as he announced that the Hornets were on the clock. I wonder who they will take? The suspense is killing us.

6:25 p.m.: The biggest moment of Anthony Davis' life is a little more than an hour away. Assuming the Celtics do not trade their picks, Boston should be on the clock in roughly 2 1/2 hours.

In the meantime, here is a quick rundown of some of the rumors and "news" from this day so far.

–Austin Rivers is on the Celtics' draft radar, according to multiple reports. The team is "aggressively" trying to trade up into the lottery to grab Rivers, who Kevin Garnett seems to be high on.

–Rivers sounds like he is steadily moving up several teams' draft boards. A week ago, Rivers was projected to be selected everywhere from No. 8 to No. 18, but do not be expecting to see him go in the top six.

–The Charlotte Bobcats still seem open to trading the No. 2 pick, but it would have to be an "enticing" offer, according to The Associated Press, as if there is any other kind of trade that ever gets done.

–Watch out for the Rockets. They made two trades to move up to No. 12 in the draft (along with their picks at Nos. 16 and 18), and reportedly are not turned off by Dwight Howard's insistence that he would not sign a new contract with them next offseason if they trade for him this summer.

–The Phoenix Suns, who draft at No. 13 and are believed to be targeting a scoring swingman, have interest in signing Ray Allen, according to a Yahoo! Sports report. That is not draft-related, obviously, but I figured it may still be of interest.

8 a.m. ET: By the end of the day, all those mock drafts and rumors will no longer be needed, which is a shame. For now, though, we still have some time to have some fun wondering what sort of crazy trades or shocking picks might be made.

Finally, we will learn exactly what the heck the Charlotte Bobcats plan to do with the second pick and whether all those in-draft trades everyone was predicting actually come to fruition. Celtics fans will find out whether their team lands a couple of impact players at Nos. 21 and 22 or if Danny Ainge pulls off another draft-day trade to strengthen the Celtics’ roster.

Doc Rivers is in Newark, N.J., with his son Austin, but NESN will be at ground zero of the Celtics’ braintrust at the TD Garden during the draft on Thursday. Join NESN and Celtics/NBA writer Ben Watanabe for updates throughout the night, with the first pick scheduled for a little after 7 p.m.

Photo via Twitter/KrisKoivisto

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