If someone had told me a month ago, that 8 days before the NBA Draft, I’d be mentioning Jared Sullinger as a possible pick for the Celtics, I would have thought they were crazy. The idea of getting a very talented player at the 21st or 22nd pick in the first round would be a dream come true.
About a week and a half ago, sources came out reporting that Sullinger had some back issues, and was medically red flagged. It was said that all NBA teams were aware of this before that report became public. Right now, it looks like Danny Ainge is one person who is willing to take a chance on him. Seeing that this year the Celtics have 2 first round draft picks, it might be worth taking the risk.
Who Is Jared Sullinger?
Sullinger is a 6’9″, 268 lb power forward from Ohio State. In his sophomore year, he averaged 17.5 points per game, and 9.3 rebounds.
Some people may call him “undersized” to be playing at power forward, but his weight alone will make it very hard for opposing players to score on him.
Offensively, Sullinger is mostly found down on the post. He’s got exceptional post moves and is a force to be reckoned with in the paint. If I could compare him to someone, he’d be like Glen Davis, but more skilled when it comes to playing in the interior.
One thing that Sullinger has trouble with is transition offense. He’s not very quick on the fast break, but neither was Kendrick Perkins, and the Celtics made that work.
All the Celtics need is a guy who just plays in the post. Most of the points they scored this season were outside the paint. If the Celtics can get a low post threat like Sullinger, his lack of speed on fast break opportunities won’t really matter.
Defensively, Sullinger will struggle when faced against more athletic power forwards. Because of his weight issues, faster players can easily get by him when he is playing defense at the top of the key. Even though he’s never played center, I think he’d be a better defender if he covered slower, bigger players. Sullinger is very strong, and in the past, when smaller, stronger forwards play center, they cause matchup problems for opposing teams.
Sullinger is a great rebounder, which like I’ve said many times before, it would be huge if the Celtics can get a player who rebounds. He uses his size and strength to grab boards, and if can just do small things like that, he’d be a great asset to the team.
Personally, if Jared Sullinger is available at the 21st pick, I say take him. To acquire a player with his talent and potential without even trading up would be a steal in this year’s draft.
I don’t mind if he doesn’t run the floor that well, we can leave that to Rondo, Bradley, and the quicker forwards.
Knowing Danny Ainge, I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the gamble on taking Sullinger. Ainge has made a living off drafting players that most teams overlook. If Sullinger can stay healthy, and his back won’t be a major issue, I think he’d be a great draft choice in the first round.