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Celts #21 pick: Jared Sullinger, F, Ohio State

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#1 mabrowndog

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:13 PM

Amalie Benjamin profile piece in the Globe last year

Doc Rivers on Sullinger (via various Twitter sources)

Rivers said he was thrilled Jared Sullinger gell to the Celtics. Said Sullinger was not red-flagged by any doctors the Celtics used. "Sometimes when medical reports come out, you sit there and you think, people might pass on him. We feel pretty good about it, otherwise we wouldn't have taken him. I played 13 years with a bad back."


#2 sodenj5

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:27 PM

If Sullinger can stay on the court and if they can light a fire under Melo, Boston seems to have had a really big draft.

#3 Nick Kaufman

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:32 PM

The fact of the matter is that even without the back problems, a multitude of other concerns arose this past season. His stats weren’t that much worse than they were his freshman season, but anybody who followed Ohio State basketball will tell you that 2011-12 was clearly much more of a struggle for him than 2010-11 was. To his credit, Sullinger shed a ton of baby fat over the summer of 2011 and entered his sophomore year about 30 pounds lighter, but all of this weight loss actually backfired and took away his ability to literally throw his weight around and carve out space on the block. Taller, more athletic defenders could just wall him up and make him shoot over them, which proved to be difficult for a guy who plays below the rim.
Consequently, Sullinger frequently got visibly frustrated and either tried to force the issue by jumping into his defender and throwing up a wild shot or settling for ill-advised challenged outside jumpers. Even if he had a completely healthy back, his NBA potential would’ve been called into question, so it’s no wonder scouts have serious concerns, especially when you factor in the fact that he was red-flagged for back problems following a pre-draft physical. And that’s to say nothing of his defensive problems.
With that said, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Sullinger ended up being the biggest steal of this year’s draft. What was glaringly obvious to me and explained his personal struggles in 2011-12 more than his bad back or thinner frame was the fact that Sullinger’s help was considerably worse this past season than it was during his freshman year. As a freshman, Sullinger had the best shooter in Big Ten history in Jon Diebler and a veteran slasher who could get to the rim at will in David Lighty to spread the floor for him. This past season, thanks to Diebler and Lighty graduating, Ohio State had neither a knockdown shooter or a slasher who could consistently take his defender off the dribble, which is why Sullinger faced many more double teams than he did the season before. Still, he managed to put up pretty much the exact same stats and led his team to a Final Four. And he did so with a bulging disc in his back — an injury that would have put you or me on the couch for at least a month — plaguing him the entire season.
Most importantly, Sullinger has an unbelievable motor and is the “first to arrive and last to leave the gym” kind of guy. He’s got fantastic footwork for a player his size, he’s got a sharp basketball mind, and he can shoot and handle the ball better than you might think. This is why I think far too many people are focused on his worst-case scenario — a poor man’s DeJuan Blair (who, by the way, was red-flagged for knee problems before the 2009 draft yet has played in 227 of 246 regular-season games in the last three seasons) — instead of his best-case scenario: The Celtics taking him at 21 or 22, and after giving him three years to keep shedding weight, learn the ways of the NBA from Boston’s old guys, and get his back problems straightened out; he ends up being Kevin Love 2.0 (guy who plays below the rim but thrives because he’s fundamentally sound with his back to the basket, can use his body to create angles to score, has range to the 3-point line, and is a tenacious rebounder) while playing second fiddle to Rajon Rondo after Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett retire.


#4 Soxy Brown

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:50 PM

Whoever called him "a rich man's Leon Powe" in the gamethread nailed it, I think. He's a guy who can bang, board, and score on the low post. I don't follow the NBA nearly as much as others on this board, but it certainly seemed to me like that was something this team desperately could've used in the playoffs. Of course, I'm completely discounting the medical stuff, which is all guesswork and hearsay right now.

That Grantland piece on him seems completely useless. "Maybe he's overrated and crappy. But maybe he's the steal of the draft and the next Kevin Love. Only time will tell!" Great insight, guy. You could say that about any NBA player ever drafted.

#5 redsahx

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 10:06 PM

Sullinger does fill a glaring need: low post offense. Brandon Bass (who I do like) brought/brings no low post game at PF. Sullinger might get swallowed up by some of the bigger elite low post defenders, but he will find ways to score down low if you get him the ball.

#6 Sille Skrub

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 10:25 PM

I'm completely biased, but I LOVE the pick. Before the back issue, I tweeted that if Sully went to the Dubs at #7, I'd get a 10 pack of tickets. He's worth jumping on the BART to the hellhole otherwise known as Oakland. I was at a work dinner and almost screamed out loud when I saw the "Sully to Boston" tweet. Love love love this.

The back is a concern, no doubt. The injuries last year are a concern, no doubt. The fact that he seemed to play under the rim at times last year is a HUGE concern, no doubt.

However, if he's healthy we just got the steal of the draft. He will work as hard as anyone and is worth the risk.

Besides... a Sully in Boston?

It's a perfect match.

#7 mabrowndog

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 10:42 PM

Whoever called him "a rich man's Leon Powe" in the gamethread nailed it, I think.

Some time after that post, Chad Finn called him a "healthy Leon Powe" on Twitter. It's going viral.

#8 Sille Skrub

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:11 PM

As bad as his back is, it can't be as bad as his singing.

Ladies and gentlemen, your newest Boston Celtic (and the first Buckeye drafted by the Celtics since 1972).

#9 Sille Skrub

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:20 PM

Old friend Scoonie Penn and the #21st pick overall:

Posted Image

Scoonie Penn tweet

#10 Jed Zeppelin

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 12:07 AM

Your excitement excites me even more about this pick.

#11 Sille Skrub

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 12:12 AM

Sully literally carried the Bucks on his back (pun intended) to the Final Four last year. Every single time we needed a big basket, he got the ball. The kid is a flat out winner. The 140 character view and everything I've read and seen about him (which is more that I care to admit), tells me he is a class act.

Again, the back is a concern. However, if it is good enough for Doc Rivers, it is good enough for me. I'm also a little worried about his size (he actually became a little less effective after he lost all that weight before last year and needs to bulk back up), but I think he will find a way to get the ball in the hoop.

If he is healthy, you guys are going to absolutely love this kid. I cannot wait to see him in green.

#12 knucklecup

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 01:01 AM

Reading his Twitter feed, it looks like some club didn't let him in tonight and is now trying to recruit others to a different bar around the corner.

Edited by knucklecup, 29 June 2012 - 01:01 AM.

#13 CreightonGubanich

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 07:32 AM

I'm not crazy about the pick, but Simmons compared him to a more polished Glen Davis. Seems like that's his worst case scenario, assuming he can stay on the floor. I think I'd take that from the 21st pick.

On one hand, the Celtics needed to get more athletic, and they didn't. On the other hand, if the core comes back for another run, they're going to be old and slow again anyway, so does it really matter?

#14 EL Jeffe

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 07:57 AM

I also love the Sullinger pick and don't see the Powe comparisons at all. Sullinger is significantly bigger / stronger than Powe, and much more skilled. I guess the Big Baby comparisons make some sense, but Sullinger has a much better post game than Davis did along with a much better makeup.

As a freshman, a reasonable comp / projection for him seemed to be Zach Randolph; similar body types and skill-sets. When his back is right, he's actually a fairly fluid athlete and can play above the rim. He can knock down the 18' jumpers that are often available in Boston's sets, but you can also run post plays for him.

None of us have any idea what the deal with his back is, however it's pretty rare that you can find a legitmate difference maker outside the top 10, let alone at #21. A healthy Sullinger can be a difference maker.

#15 Sille Skrub

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 08:14 AM

#16 Derek's Friend

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 08:26 AM


That is awesome!!!!! Where did you get that?

#17 Sille Skrub

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 08:32 AM

Ohio State facebook feed. Looks like it is from a local news reporter in C-Bus.

Also, Mark Titus weighs in on Grantland.

#18 Marbleheader

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 08:38 AM

Sullinger Breakdown:

#19 wade boggs chicken dinner

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:27 AM

Love the pick. Didn't see a ton of him but when I did it was clear that he was a good basketball player. I don't think the comparisons to Leon Powe are fair because Powe used his brute strength and Sullinger has great footwork, can handle the ball, and has an outside shot (40% from three-point range last season).

Plus, I don't think he is a guy who needs to dominate the ball, which is a consideration since the Cs have a guy who will have the ball in his hands 30+ minutes a game. (literally).

#20 Nick Kaufman

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:39 AM

Bottom line, he's got a feel for the game, he can score and rebound. Big issue is his back. If he can't get over that, I don't think he goes far. But if he can get over that and work on strength and stamina, he can develop into a solid starter in a couple of years IMO.

#21 Brickowski

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 10:14 AM

My understanding is that there are now some very effective, minimally invasive (i.e. outpatient) surgical procedures for herniated discs. Maybe one of the M.D.'s here can comment. Any orthopedists in the house?

#22 lars10

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 11:07 AM

Weird that Sullinger's outlook is best case scenario of Scola and worst case scenario of Glen Davis...
How large a window is that really? Because Glen has been a pretty serviceable player for some time.

In that clip though it def looked like his hops were on the Big Baby level while rebounding.. I think a lot of those putbacks will get blocked against NBA big men.

I do though like that he fell from projected 7 or whatever down to 21... The potential PP comparison/reason to prove people wrong could be great for the C's

#23 eddiew112

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 01:28 PM

The Big Baby comp is really selling Sullinger short IMO. He is a much, much more polished offensive player than Davis was when he came out. If he has Baby's work ethic and his back holds up the Scola comp looks pretty good

#24 ifmanis5

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 01:42 PM

The whole key to Sully and Fab is Garnett. When paired with KG this may work out. Without KG around, these guys are going to take a beating.

#25 knucklecup

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 11:42 PM

I sit next to a kid at work who went to Ohio State and loves them. I was pretty bummed and he was jamming down my throat how Sullinger was a "poor mans Kevin Love." I don't agree with that at all but I'm definitely starting to warm up. That quote about dominating at every level against the best competition; it's true.

#26 Cellar-Door

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 11:52 PM

I sit next to a kid at work who went to Ohio State and loves them. I was pretty bummed and he was jamming down my throat how Sullinger was a "poor mans Kevin Love." I don't agree with that at all but I'm definitely starting to warm up. That quote about dominating at every level against the best competition; it's true.

I think that could be a pretty fair assessment of his upside, Sullinger used it himself, and Rosenberg at SI analyzed it, they do have very similar body, types, skillsets and college numbers:

#27 Kenny F'ing Powers

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 09:09 AM

Looks like he's feeling a little disrespected...Paul Pierce 2.0?

"To me," Sullinger says, with a Celtics cap resting atop his head. "This (not being invited to the draft, being picked low) still tells me I'm not a good enough player yet. They told me I wasn't good enough, now it's time to work."

#28 boca

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 09:43 AM

RT @KristineLeahy: Sullinger on falling to 21: If you consider going to the Boston Celtics a drop, I'd do it all over again.

I'm liking this guy already.

#29 dolomite133

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 11:18 AM

Can anyone here explain a bulging disc, how (or if) it can be fully repaired/healed, and what it means to his short and long term prospects as a pro player?