With all this talk of if Kelly Olynyk can become the next Dirk Nowitzki, can Jeff Green become a 20 point scorer, and who is Vitor Faverani? I began to think of NBA comparisons for these players. The following is one such of these projections. Please note, I'm not saying these players are the ceiling/basement projections for these players, it's just my opinion of what they might turn into.
To start, I'll begin with Jared Sullinger. Admittedly, the sample size on Jared is small with his season-ending injury, and by the fact that he didn't receive steady minutes at the beginning of this season. However, we learned several things about the former Buckeye, and his per 36 numbers are quite good.
Per 36 Minutes
Not bad for a rookie, and gives us hope as fans going forward that Sully will turn into a solid player. With this in mind, here is my comparison for Sully.
NBA Comparison: DeJuan Blair
I know, not the Kevin Love or LeMarcus Aldridge we were all hoping for, but Blair is quite comparable to our young Celtic for several reasons. For starters, let's look at Blair's per 36 numbers as well.
Per 36 Minutes
Ironically, even after falling out of the San Antonio rotation this past year in favor of Thiago Splitter, Blair's career averages per 36 are still quite good, and even slightly better then Sully's from this past season. Going forward, several things are clear from these numbers however.
- Sully is a more accomplished FT shooter than Blair has ever been. This is a really good thing for the C's going forward, because typically a good FT shooter can eventually become a good mid-range shooter, which would be a real weapon for the Celtics.
- Sullinger and Blair played nearly the same amount of minutes last season, so when we get into advanced statistics (further down) the PER etc. is a little more accurate then in some other cases.
- For the moment, it would appear that Blair is the more efficient scorer, though I think as Sully improves, this will even out.
- Finally, both big men are monstrous on the offensive glass, and for a Celtics team that has been woeful on the boards of late, it appears they have an efficient offensive "glass eater" in the makings.
Now let's look at the advanced statistics for Jared Sullinger:
And now for DeJuan Blair:
Again, the statistics between the two are eerily similar, and I'd like to point a few specifically.
- Notice the TS%, even though Blair is a far more efficient scorer, Sully's ability to hit FT's evens the gap between the two some. Sullinger still needs to improve on his low post efficiency, but his FT's are a boon to his offensive game going forward.
- PER. While vastly overrated as a stat, it can be used credibly in this instance. Both players played about the same minutes this past season, and both had a decent PER. With luck, Sullinger's will continue to improve with more consistent playing time.
- The TRB% for both these guys is reallllllly good. Meaning both hit the boards hard, on both sides of the floor. I don't know if Sullinger will improve by leaps and bounds in this field going forward, but if he can duplicate last years showing, that'd be excellent.
- As far as the Usage ratings are concerned, those are a wash imo..... I expect Sully's to be much higher this coming season.
Apart from the statistical similarities between the two players, they are also similar in shot selection:
|Shot Distance||At Rim||68||102||.667||0||0||.667||34||.500|
|16 ft to||18||50||.360||0||0||.360||16||.889|
|Shot Distance||At Rim||91||137||.664||0||0||.664||68||.747|
|16 ft to||9||23||.391||0||0||.391||6||.667|
Now it's clear that Blair was the more used of the two offensively, but Sullinger was a rookie on a veteran team, and I expect he'll have more shot attempts this coming season. The two players are similar in their offensive range and abilities. As much as people want Sully to improve his range out to 16+ feet, looking at these numbers, I'd much prefer he'd sure up his game from 3 to 10 feet out.
Finally, both DeJuan Blair and Jared Sullinger are roughly the same size. Blair clocks in at 6'7" and 265 lbs. Sully is 6'9" and 280lbs. I know what you're thinking, 2 inches and 15 pounds is a big difference, well it is, and it isn't... Both are undersized at the PF, and so far Blair has proven to be the better rebounder (he led the league in ORB% in 2010-2011.) Sullinger should apply his extra girth to keeping his man out of the point a little more, and attempting to not let his man go over the top of him, but both are undersized for the Center position, but both have had to/will have to play it, this upcoming season.
In closing, I don't think Celtic's fans should be disappointed that Jared Sullinger is comparable to DeJuan Blair, I think we should be proud of it. Blair is a really solid player, a hard working guy who's gonna give you good, efficient production every night on the court, and if Sullinger can become the same, what a steal. Believing that Sullinger was the next Kevin Love was a long shot, and probably too far a stretch, but going forward, Sullinger should be a Blair-esque type player, perhaps even better. Only time shall tell!
What do you think? Is Blair a good comparison for Sully? I look forward to your comments.
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