NBA Draft Profile: Jared Sullinger
Jared Sullinger - PF – 6'9, 268lbs.
Sullinger was given the dreaded red flag a few weeks ago when multiple doctors decided back problems could shorten his career. A surefire top-five pick had he come out after the 2011 season, Sullinger now could slide to the back of the first round.
His play this season did not help his draft stock either. Scouts realized they may already be seeing the best he has to offer as Sullinger did not really expand his game in any way from his freshman to sophomore season. His scoring average stayed the same (17 ppg), while his rebounding per game actually decreased (10.2 to 9.2). Although he is very polished, Sullinger plays below the rim and is extremely limited as a defender. He has been criticized for poor conditioning and he is most definitely not a help defender (1.1 blocks per game).
If he stays healthy, Sullinger will have a job as a starter for years to come, because he is a very effective scorer and can rebound the ball at a high rate. His muscly build and aggressive nature gives him good post position and easy shots to finish. He has a deadly hook shot and his jump shot did improve in his two years at OSU. This resulted in him knocking down 52 per cent of his field goals in the very competitive Big Ten this year. A true power forward, Sullinger has nice hands and a good understanding of the pick-and-roll on offence.
Sullinger draws a lot of parallels to Carlos Boozer on both sides of the ball. This is a back-handed compliment as Boozer also can score with ease but is a very suspect defender. Ultimately, if Sullinger is surrounded by the right pieces, he can be a key member on a contending team.
Despite the criticisms, ESPN's Chad Ford is still high on Sullinger, writing “He is undersized and plays below the rim, but the NBA has had a rash of successful power forwards with the same limitations.”