Jared Sullinger: Teams That Should Take Chance on Former Buckeye's Back
Sullinger's back adds to concerns about his height (6'8''). He has the skill set necessary to succeed in at the next level, but his ability to score against bigger and stronger NBA forwards is questionable.
All of that aside, Sullinger is a capable power forward. His wide frame carves out space in the paint, and he has excellent touch around the rim. He has a developing face-up game, and he's shown he can knock down shots from the perimeter.
Sullinger's height may make him a defensive liability, and his back may make him an overall concern, but these three teams should give the former Buckeye a chance.
Let's take a look.
Denver doesn't have any glaring needs in their starting lineup, and that makes Sullinger a luxury pick at No. 20 overall.
The Nuggets will start JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried up front next year. This would give Sullinger a chance to play a valuable reserve role. His back wouldn't be under the pressure of starter's minutes, and he wouldn't be under a ton of pressure to perform.
Nugget fans may want to see an athletic wing come off the board here. Moe Harkless would complement Danilo Gallinari perfectly, but I still think Sullinger is a safer bet. Harkless is talented but extremely raw on both ends of the floor.
Denver would benefit from adding Sullinger to their rotation. He's a better offensive player than Faried, and he would add a different element to their frontcourt.
This is a safe situation for both sides.
This is a tough choice because of Boston's age. Sullinger would certainly be a risk, but having two consecutive first-round selections should make him an option.
By the time the Celtics' picks come (Nos. 21 and 22), Sullinger will be the most talented player on the board. Boston desperately needs size, and he would be too good to pass up at that point.
Where should Boston's focus be?
The Celtics' brass are likely looking to add a big man and a talented player on the wing. Moe Harkless, Royce White, Andrew Nicholson and Fab Melo are all very good possibilities to land in Boston's lap.
But Sullinger shouldn't be overlooked. He is experienced, plays with a workmanlike attitude that Doc Rivers would appreciate and will carve out space for Rajon Rondo underneath.
Sullinger's touch around the rim, and beyond, would give Boston another viable threat on offense, and the Celtics could use their other pick to draft a more "sure" thing.
At some point, Sullinger can be had for the correct value. Even with his back concerns, I still think he's a mid-to-late first-round talent.
Cleveland has already used their No. 4 overall pick on either Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist by the time their No. 24 selection comes along.
The Cavaliers want to win now, and they aren't far away from climbing the rungs of the Eastern Conference ladder. Sullinger is a risky pick, but he's worth it for Cleveland's current situation.
Tristan Thompson will still be developing as he enters his second NBA season. Adding depth behind the southpaw would be smart and, in my opinion, necessary. Sullinger's experience makes him a perfect candidate.
Cleveland would be smart to add another big man who Kyrie Irving can run his dynamic pick-and-roll style with. Sullinger's wide frame will set prime screens, and he is a candidate to roll or step out. This will keep the defense honest and give Irving a plethora of options.
Playing Thompson and Sullinger in tandem would be ideal. Neither would shoulder a starter's responsibility and both would be protected. Sullinger's back wouldn't be overly used, and Thompson could develop at a reasonable pace.
The Cavaliers are going to have several directions they could go with this pick, but Sullinger makes sense. If he lasts this long, he is absolutely worth the risk.
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