Examining Jared Sullinger’s lazy defense
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.
Again, I would expect Sullinger to get beat to the rim here. What this shows is a larger problem, which is Sullinger’s poor defensive effort. He is not in a good stance and shows he is not that interested in putting in the effort on the defensive end.
The second clip also highlights a pick and roll play but one where Sullinger does not hedge on Demetri McCamey. If there is one player on Illinois who you want to hedge on and not allow to shoot a three pointer, its McCamey. Sullinger just does not try to get out and hedge McCamey and he easily knocks down the jumper.
You can tell that Ohio State is not switching the screen because David Lighty is working to recover to McCamey after being screened. This means that Sullinger should have hedged on McCamey to slow him down while Lighty fights through the screen. He doesn’t get out on the hedge and McCamey gets a free look at the basket.
Sullinger is in good position from the start to but he doesn’t put the effort in to hedge the ballscreen in the end. With the look McCamey gets because of the poor effort, it’s basically free points for Illinois.
The final clip shows his laziness on an off ball screen. Sullinger’s man, Mike Davis, sets a curl screen for DJ Richardson. Looking at the picture, Sullinger is in good position to step up and to bump Richardson or cut him off if he gets the pass at the beginning of the play.
Instead of stepping up to help on the screen, Sullinger fades back to Davis, who is posing no threat to the defense at this time. If Richardson gets the pass off the curl and dumps the ball off to Davis, Sullinger will be able to get back to Davis and meet him at the rim to contest the shot.
Since Sullinger does not step up, it forces Jon Diebler to come in from the opposite wing to cut off the ball, leaving his man open for a jumper. The shot does not go in and Sullinger’s laziness does not hurt the Buckeyes on this play but is indicative of the larger problem.
I believe it was up to Sullinger to step up and cut off Richardson in this play. He looks concerned about Davis but I think he could have recovered to him, if Richardson dumped the ball off to Davis. His effort is just not there and Illinois gets a look at an open three.
If I am an opposing coach, I have Sullinger’s man do little except screens. I believe OSU can be exploited in this area and it is definitely something to watch for down the stretch.