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Jared Sullinger: 2012 NBA Draft Scouting Report

June 16, 2012

Jared Sullinger

Ohio State
6-9 power forward
7-1 wingspan
268 pounds

NBA Projections as of June 16, 2012 – 14th overall – 7th overall
ESPN’s Chad Ford – 10th overall Prediction as of June 16, 2012

Update June 27, 2012 – Based on combine injury concerns, I will take his career average a bit down a notch to 14 to 16 points a game to 6 to 8 rebounds.  I will still predict 16 to 20 points a game and 8 to 10 rebounds at the beginning of his career before his back takes a toll and bring his career averages down.  I am still high on him and think he is an absolute steal given the current late first round prediction.

When you think Jared Sullinger, think a smaller version of Al Jefferson.  Sullinger will have a long successful NBA career as an above average power forward in his NBA career.  One should expect his good years by averaging around 16 to 20 points a game while grabbing 8 to 10 rebounds.  His career will be better than Thomas Robinson’s who is currently projected to be drafted ahead of him.

Some scouts and experts cite Sullinger’s weight and body fat percentage issues as possible red flags. Personally, it appears to be overblown. His conditioning can be improved, but you could say that about everyone else. Watching game tape on Sullinger, his conditioning doesn’t appear to be a huge issue. In fact, as a freshman, he played the entire game 3 times including logging 45-minutes in an overtime game.  As a sophomore, he played the entire game twice.  Both during his freshman and sophomore year, Sullinger played 39 minutes in his final game of the season.

The reason why I am high on Sullinger is because he brings a post-up game that is not too common from young players coming into the NBA nowadays.  Sullinger is a player you can feed the post and run a huge number of offensive plays around.  Additionally, he is a smart player with an enormous build that should easily adapt to the NBA’s pick and roll game.

Here is a short summary on why I made this prediction.  See Scouting Criteria page for my definitions and examples of each category.

Aggressiveness – Moderate
Ability to Create Shots – High
Performance Against Top Players and Teams – Moderate
Mental Make-up – Moderate

Ability to Create Shots

Score: High

Jared Sullinger currently has the best post-up skills in this draft.  Sullinger is also likely to have the best career as a post-up player in this draft, with only Anthony Davis having the ability to surpass him.

  • Post-up skill: Though this is part of Sullinger’s game that can get even better, his current post up skill is good enough to be productive in the NBA.  He can turn and shoot into both shoulders.  He is great at using his body to create space.  An issue he has is that sometimes he gets caught in awkward position after making his initial post-up move.  He picks up the ball and ends up facing the defender and attempts to get the shot over a lengthy guy.  He does it often that it looks like he lacks athleticism and height when he actually just puts himself in an awkward position.  Expect Sullinger to correct this problem and become even craftier in the post as he becomes an even better post up player.
  • Face-up Skill: Sullinger’s face-up skill is undeveloped as he uses his post-up game a lot.  This is an area of improvement and an area that he doesn’t use much.
  • Passing ability: Sullinger’s passing ability is decent, not exceptional.  He knows how to pass of double teams.  However, he does not make excellent passes in traffic like Thomas Robinson is able to do.

Mental Make-up

Score: Moderate

There are no overwhelming or underwhelming stories that I have read to be able to give Sullinger a low or high score in this area.  Here is what we know about Sullinger.

The Good

  • Sullinger appears to have a very solid basketball foundation through coaching.  He is a coach’s son with two older brothers that played college basketball
  • He is an intelligent basketball player. Ohio State head coach Thad Matta calls him one of the most intellectual players he’s ever coached.
  • He played through a bad back and foot injury last season.  Despite this, his production did not dip from his freshman year.

The Bad:

  • Sullinger has some weight concerns.  He weighed in at 268 in the NBA Draft combine but has been believed to be as much as 280.
  • His body fat percentage was measured at 10.7%, the 6th worst in the combine.

The question is whether Sullinger’s weight and body fat percentage is a red flag or not.  Is he more Sean May? My personal opinion is that it won’t be an issue for Sullinger.  He plays a decent amount of minutes and doesn’t seem to get that much tired.  At Ohio State, the offense runs through him and he is able to deal with the load from a physical standpoint.  Compare this to Sean May where the offense didn’t really go through him.  May didn’t also play as many minutes as Sullinger.  May also appear to be winded a lot more though that might be more of a function of coach Roy William’s running system.

Against Best Ranked Teams and in Big Games

Score: Moderate

By looking at the table below, we see that in big games and against ranked teams, Sullinger actually appears to have played better as a freshman than as a sophomore.  However, I give him a moderate score since based on this data and watching game tape, we get mixed results.

Sophomore Year

Per 30 minutes G PTS FGA FG% REB
Season 37 17.3 11.7 51.9% 9.1
Ranked Teams 9 13.8 10.2 46.7% 7.4
Big Ten Tournament 3 23.5 16.3 56.0% 8.8
NCAA Tournament 5 15.9 12.0 40.6% 8.3

Freshman Year

Per 30 minutes G PTS FGA FG% REB
Season 37 16.3 10.5 54.1% 9.7
Ranked Teams 6 18.9 12.9 56.7% 9.2
Big Ten Tournament 3 12.6 9.2 33.3% 10.8
NCAA Tournament 3 16.9 10.4 61.3% 11.1


Score: Moderate

Jared Sullinger does not appear to be too passive or too aggressive.

Aggressiveness in comparison to other big guys in the draft

Take a look at the per 30 minute averages on aggressive statistics.   Jared appears to be a little bit less aggressive than Thomas Robinson.  His aggressiveness is around Royce White’s level as White appears to pass more while Sullinger appears to shoot more.  He leads the group in free throw attempts.  Additionally, his turnovers are impressively low considering that Ohio State runs their offense pretty much around him.

Per 30 minutes FGA FTA AST TO
Thomas Robinson 12.5 5.8 1.7 2.5
Jared Sullinger 11.7 6.1 1.2 1.9
Royce White 9.2 5.7 4.8 3.6
Anthony Davis 7.9 4.8 1.2 1.0

AP Photo Credit: AP Photo/Elise Amendola


From → 2012 NBA Draft

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