The news that Jared Sullinger will not be invited into the NBA’s green room for the NBA Draft is not so much a shock at this point, but more of a disappointment. It’s hard to fathom that a player who a year ago could have been a top ten pick is now falling down the draft boards faster than a prostitute drops her…you know where I’m headed. Now the former Ohio State big man is the underdog, which means he will be easy to root for.
He was already a likeable young man. He’s a throwback type player who is all about teamwork, dedication and passion. He isn’t the most athletic player in the draft, but that’s meaningless. How many NBA GMs have been burned by focusing on a player’s “upside?” Of all the rookies it’s hard to see anyone putting in as much effort as Sullinger. He also possess something a lot of these youngsters don’t have and that’s a high basketball IQ. You match that with body frame that is able to handle the physical play in the NBA, why shouldn’t a team take him? Oh that’s right he’s damaged goods.
Poking a hungry lion in the Serengeti would produce less of an adverse reaction than the way Sullinger will unleash his new found chip on his shoulder. It would mean one thing if the young man was a head case, but Sullinger is a man child, mature beyond his years. There’s no doubt that this news of his imminent demise is going to motivate him. Look out high flying skinny athletic guys with no basketball skills (Half of the NBA.)
The Greg Oden comparisons are going to be made so much that it will become a cliche by Thursday night. It doesn’t take the investigative work of Sherlock Holmes to make that connection. That said the it’s premature to look at Sullinger’s body and call it a lemon. He missed one road game last year due to back spasms and his apparent disability only lead Ohio State to the Final Four.
If you are an NBA GM and you plan on passing on Sullinger, be my guest. In fact the young man deserves to play for a winner anyways. Wouldn’t it be great if he lands in Oklahoma City or Miami? Much better than playing for the perennial loser lottery squads. Whoever picks Sullinger is going to get a stud. If he drops past 15 he’s one heck of a steal. Right now Sullinger is the underdog and the NBA scouts doubting him are just toying with a dragon. He could end up causing a few GMs to lose their job when all is said and done.