Posts Tagged ‘Jared Sullinger’
There is not much to question about Jared Sullinger’s offensive game; however, the defensive part of the game is a different story. I wanted to show a few clips that prove he is a lazy defensive player. Now, Ohio State is the 6th best defense in the nation in terms of efficiency but I don’t think Sullinger plays a big role in that number, except for his great defensive rebounding.
The first clip will highlight a pick and roll near the end of the first half. Ohio State chooses to switch the ball screen and Sullinger is beat to the rim by a quicker Brandon Paul. I can’t really fault him for that since you would expect a big man to get beat off the dribble by a guard a majority of the time. Looking at the effort put in by Sullinger, though, it is troubling.
Check out the stance by Sullinger as he switches on to Paul. He is standing almost straight up, which anyone can tell you is an awful defensive stance. He is already at a disadvantage and this poor stance makes it that much easier for Paul to cross him over. It shows to me that he does not want to put any effort into defense. Sure, Paul is going to beat him more than likely but a little effort here would be nice to show he cares about defense. Not getting into a defensive stance on the ball is a big indicator of not putting in effort, which we see from Sullinger in this clip.
This blog has neglected defense for most of the beginning of the season but is trying to change that. Defense is as much a part of the game as offense and takes just as much basketball skill and awareness as offense.
In this play early in the Ohio State-Indiana game, OSU had to deal with several ball screens, which they handled nicely through hedging the screen and scrambling back to their defender. Dallas Lauderdale was a little slow in rotating back but Jared Sullinger did a great job of help defense.
It is clear FSU is focusing on not letting Jared Sullinger beat them in the paint. So far, he is only 1-4 from the field, with several of his shots coming from offensive rebounds, not from the flow of the offense.
FSU is doubling Sullinger every time he catches the ball and often shadowing a man toward him before he catches the ball. This is making it tough for Sullinger to get open and be dangerous when he does catch the ball.
I hate to rain on the hype parade that is surrounding Jared Sullinger but I feel the need to interject my thoughts. Sullinger will be tough to stop for many defenders and I fully expect him to average 20+ points per game this season. However, he has shown a very limited post game so far in the two games I have seen him play.
That is not to say he has no post moves, as you will see. However, I will demonstrate how he is still relying on his big body to get him buckets instead of displaying solid footwork to get him open looks.
Good post moves
Sullinger has showed that he has a nice hook shot from multiple areas on the court. He uses his strong lower body to obtain good post position and then takes one (or two dribbles) and puts up a hook shot. Let’s take a look.
Like I showed earlier (seen here), OSU likes to set screens to get Sullinger open. This gives him a bit of separation to get to the block in this play. He is met by the Florida defender when he takes one dribble, pivots toward the baseline and drains the hook shot. He creates some separation from his defender and finishes the play with a nice one handed shot.
Here is a good move and finish with his left hand. He takes two dribbles toward the paint and drops the shot over the defender. I thought this was a very impressive move by Sullinger, but sadly, it was the one of the few he displayed.
There were several times when Sullinger got the ball in the post and tried to simply power his way to the basket. No footwork, no ball fake, nothing that would throw the defender off and give Sullinger a better chance to finish. This is something he can hopefully adjust to as the season wears on and he notices the importance of these parts of the game. He got blocked 4 times against Florida and this will continue to happen if he does not adjust.
Watch a few plays where Sullinger tries to simply use his strength to get to the rim, only to be met and rejected by defenders of similar strength.
I think he needs to see the help defense coming from the weak side in this play and hesitate to watch the defender fly by or ball fake and draw a foul on the defender. Instead, he tries to overpower the defender and he gets blocked. This shows a lack of awareness once he gets the ball in the post and it turns into a negative possession.
Here is a nice example of the point I am trying to make of the lack of footwork displayed by Sullinger. Sullinger tries to go baseline but Patric Young has him well defended. Sullinger does not adjust and try to pivot back to the middle or beat the defender in any way. Instead, he tries to keep muscling toward the basket and he forces a tough shot from a bad angle, which Young blocks.
Here is the final play I want to highlight. Sullinger gets the ball in a nice position. The defender is giving him the ability to turn to pivot over his left shoulder and finish with his right hand. Sullinger cannot recognize this and gets his shot blocked yet again as he makes a slow turn toward the middle. This is the first time he has faced defenders that can hang with him in the college game and he showed he has difficulty reading the defense in the post as well as limited moves that are effective against tough defenders.
I do not think this is a major weakness of Sullinger, especially this early in the year. He is still adjusting to the level of competition and having to rely on more than his strength to score in the post. However, I think he has some room to grow in the areas I highlighted above. If you read the box score from the Florida game, you would have been led to believe that Sullinger was dominant on offense. While he was good, many of his baskets came on dunks after the OSU guards had broken the press.
Now I believe Sullinger is a great athlete and think he will be one of the best freshman and a top draft pick next season. However, I want to see a little more out of him in the post before I anoint him as an awesome basketball player. The hook moves are a good start but I need to see a little more.
Thoughts on this?
With the game tight midway through the second half, OSU went on a big run to pull away from the Gators. They did this by easily handling the full court pressure and giving Jared Sullinger dunk after dunk.
They broke the press both by the dribble and with the pass. Let’s take a look at how it all happened.
Jared Sullinger had a great debut with 19 and 14 in 21 minutes. He did not show off any awesome post moves but his skills were adequate against smaller defenders. I was hoping to showcase his footwork but for the most part, he was able to just go over the defense.
What I saw instead was some interesting screening and crossing action to get Sullinger open in the post. Instead of letting him fight for position, they are running him off teammates to get him open.