OSU hero Jared Sullinger may be one of the most controversial prospects in the upcoming NBA draft. Various draft boards have him going everywhere from 6th overall to later on into the first round. Proponents of Big Sully point to his polished post moves, his offensive efficiency and his strong work ethic, while detractors worry that his less-than-elite athleticism and size may leave him without a position, and unable to match up with NBA level talent.
It's really hard to say exactly what kind of NBA career Sullinger is going to have, or where he's going to be picked. Where should Sullinger WANT to go? That sounds like a question we can answer. Here are some of the teams that could conceivably draft the Ohio State Big Man, and if they would be a good fit.
6) Portland Trail Blazers-Portland has a pair of lotto picks, one of the best big men in the west at LaMarcus Aldridge, and not a whole lot of competition with other forwards (JJ Hickson? Thabeet?), so he should get to play. Portland shouldn't be rebuilding for very long, and they have a passionate fanbase. However, he's going to hear the Oden comparisons again and again, and Portland's backcourt situation is a little unsettled. Sully isn't going to be very effective if he doesn't have a reliable guard giving him the ball.
7) Golden State Warriors-Playing with a healthy Andrew Bogut could help hide some of Sullinger's defensive limitations, but a frontcourt of David Lee and Sully could give up a zillion points per game. In that case, I'm Golden State is *very* interested. It would be fun to watch Sullinger on the Warriors (he would be a great smallball center), but I don't think this is a particularly likely pairing. The Warrior's biggest need is on the wings, and they're looking at either drafting one, or trading the pick in a package to bring in a vet.
8) Toronto Raptors. I think this could be awful. Depending on what happens with Calderon's contract, the Raps could be without any decent distributors, already have a defensively challenged big man, and play in Canada. Toronto is frantically shopping this pick to bring in an impact vet, which is just as well. This team needs help all over.
9) Detroit Pistons-This could be an intriguing fit. Outside of Greg Monroe, the Pistons don't really have any guys that can rebound and hustle. He should be able to take playing time from guys like Villanueva and Wallace, and the Pistons were sneakily not-terrible. However, he'd be in Michigan, which would make it impossible for any of us to root for him. Problematic.
10) New Orleans Hornets-The Hornets need Sully, but he shouldn't want anything to do with New Orleans. They are going to be horrible for another few years, they'll never attract any good free agents, and speaking as a former resident of the 504, New Orleans is actually a kinda crappy place to live. He'll get plenty of playing time, and a front court with Davis and Sullinger could be exciting, but this wouldn't be an ideal situation at all.
12) Milwaukee Bucks-If Sullinger is still on the board at 12, I think Milwaukee has to take him. Outside of Drew Gooden (and Kwame Brown lol), they badly need guys to fill in minutes at the 4 and 5. With Jennings and Ellis, Sullinger won't be asked to provide the bulk of the offense, and he knows he has two guards who can competently give him the basketball (if they ever stop shooting). Milwaukee isn't too far from Columbus, and is kind of an underrated town, to be honest. If everybody is healthy, the Bucks could be a playoff team next season.
14) Houston Rockets-The Rockets already have a Jared Sullinger. His name is Luis Scola, and he is probably better than Sullinger is going to be. If Sully goes to Houston, he'll have to suffer the fate of every other Rockets draft pick...he'll be somewhat productive, people will laud Morey for his cagey draft pick, he'll be included in every trade rumor for the next 3 years, and the Rockets will juuuust miss the playoffs.
While other commentators seem to think that Sullinger could slip completely out of the lottery, I find this unlikely. A player with his level of polish and productivity shouldn't fall that far, even in a deep draft like this one. I think it's more likely that a team trades up to get Sully should he slip a little bit. Of those possibilities, Portland, Detroit or Milwaukee seem like the best fits, with Toronto and New Orleans looking like poor matches.
Of course, with crazy NBA GMs, you just never know. David KAAAAAAAHN could very well trade every other Wolves pick from 2020-2040 to grab him. We'll have to wait until draft night for most of our burning questions to be finally answered...with the possible exception of which prospects are DTF. Verlon Reed might be able to share some light on that subject....chance are, the answer is "yes". ,