Detroit Pistons Draft Targets: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

Jay Wierenga@@JayWierengaCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2012

LINCOLN, NE - JANUARY 21: Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes fights with Brandon Ubel #13 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during their game at The Devany Center January 21, 2012 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Ohio State defeated Nebraska 78-45. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

This is the sixth in my series exploring potential Detroit Pistons draft targets. The first five explored Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Thomas Robinson, Perry Jones and Harrison Barnes.

My Take

Few players in the NCAA have been more talked about than Ohio State's big man. Many believe that had he declared for the NBA draft last year, he would have gone in the top five, if not first overall.

But alas, he stuck around for another year and is making life tough on the rest of the Big Ten, my beloved Wolverines included.

Sullinger is a throwback type of player in that he has a multi-faceted game. He is an exceptional scorer with his back to the hoop, can rebound in traffic and is an above-average passer.

As far as basketball intelligence goes, Sullinger is off the charts. He puts himself into the right position to help his team on offense and uses his size to become an immovable object in the post.

While he is not known for his athleticism, he uses his intelligence to get to the right spot, especially in getting rebounds.

He further helps his rebounding by playing with tenacity and using a very strong, albeit low center of gravity.

He shows a soft touch, even up to 18 feet from the hoop, and plays exceptionally well with his back to the hoop.

One of the top players in the country last year, Sullinger decided to avoid resting on his laurels, and lost 25 pounds to help with his lateral quickness.

The result is a quicker player who has not lost his power.

He also shows hustle, willing to go to the court to bring back loose balls.

Defensively, Sullinger does not play above the rim, and his lack of athleticism will give him trouble against the longer, quicker players at the next level. However, he will eat them alive in the post.

There are concerns about Sullinger's size, especially his height. He is listed at 6'9", but as always you have to beware that that number might go down when the combines come around. Either way, he does not block many shots, and you wonder if he will be able to get his shot off against bigger defenders.

In a lot of ways, Sullinger reminds me of Glen Davis but with higher emotional and mental toughness, or Corliss Williamson with more size.

If he can keep his weight in check, he should be able to carve out a nice career for himself.

Scout's Take By ESPN

Projection Top 10 Pick
  • Strong, physical player
  • Huge lower body gets him deep position
  • High basketball IQ
  • Equally excellent facing the basket
  • A dominant rebounder
  • Tough competitor
  • Has had conditioning issues
  • Isn't an explosive, above-the-rim athlete
  • A bit undersized for the position

How He Fits Detroit

There is a lot to like about Sullinger and how he might fit in Detroit. He has the intelligence, toughness and sheer tenacity to fit well with this team.

His addition would make Detroit a dominant rebounding team when paired with Greg Monroe.

However, neither big man is overly athletic, and neither is going to block many shots. Ideally, I would like to see someone like Anthony Davis paired with Monroe, someone who can intimidate with a shot-blocking presence.

That being said, Davis will get pushed around at the next level, especially in the post.

Sullinger will not get pushed around by anyone. In fact, his low center of gravity and strong legs would allow him to match up against opposing centers, even some of the more athletic ones.

Add to that the fact that he is only 20 years old and will likely only get bigger and stronger, and you could have the makings of a real beast down low.

A pairing of Monroe and Sullinger would call to mind Memphis' two-man rotation of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

The one question you have is whether or not you want a team that has no shot blockers.

Regardless, Sullinger likely will have a very good career, whether it is in Detroit or elsewhere.


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