Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 3/30/12
Some NBA general managers and scouts have their doubts about Jared Sullinger. They say the Ohio State power forward cant jump and struggles to get off his shot against taller defenders. They wonder who hell defend at the next level. Others are confident Sullinger will make a good pro. They like how he uses his strength to get position near the basket, his winning attitude and his rebounding. Sullinger is a coachs son and you can tell. He rarely turns the ball over, is sound fundamentally and understands the game. He possesses good vision and soft hands. But I still cant tell, was one scouts assessment of how Sullingers game might translate to the NBA. He certainly has all the goods. Itd be a lot easier to peg him as a star if he stood 6-foot-11 or 7-0, as opposed to (6-9). Most draft experts have Sullinger being selected in the No. 6-10 range -- or as the third or fourth best power forward behind the likes of Kentuckys Anthony Davis and Kansas Thomas Robinson. A good test comes this weekend, when Sullinger and Robinson square off in the Final Four. Sullinger is just a sophomore, but expected to declare for the draft after bypassing the lottery and returning to the Buckeyes last year. It would be difficult for anyone to pass up NBA money twice. Since Sullinger has spent his entire career in Columbus (he played for Northland High before joining the Buckeyes), a lot of folks wonder how he might look on Ohios only pro basketball team. That would be none other than the Cavaliers. Fittingly, the Cavs are projected to draft in the range in which Sullinger is likely to be available. Clearly, Sullinger would be an immediate draw. Hes already a fan favorite in the state. He comes from a strong family, and is intelligent, friendly and well-spoken off the court. Hes exactly the type of person the Cavs would love to have in their organization. But understandably, general manager Chris Grant would consider Sullinger as a player first, followed by how well Sullinger fits a need. As of today, the Cavs possess four power forwards (who occasionally double as centers) -- veterans Antawn Jamison and Anderson Varejao, rookie Tristan Thompson and second-year man Samardo Samuels. The Cavs like all of them. But its hard to say what will happen with Jamison, whose contract expires this summer, or Samuels, whose performance and playing time have been inconsistent. Still, according to most insiders, it would take a perfect storm for the Cavs to draft Sullinger. First, lets say Jamison and Samuels do not return. The Cavs would still have Varejao and Thompson. Even with Varejao stuck at center again, Thompson is likely to get most of the minutes at power forward -- the idea being to find someone to play 20-25 minutes off the bench. More than that, the Cavs are mostly on the lookout for a swingman-type to play at shooting guard or small forward (or both). Either that, or a real center. Sullinger doesnt meet any of the above criteria. And thats one truth upon which all scouts, GMs and fans agree. Then again, he could become a Paul Millsap-type, one scout said, comparing Sullinger to the Utah Jazz forward. One would think the Cavs might maybe OK with landing that type of player, then finding ways to meet their other needs. I'd sure be OK with another Paul Millsap, anyway. A lot can happen between now and the draft. Sullinger still has to play his big game vs. Kansas and Robinson -- and perhaps a title game after that. There are still all those pre-draft individual workouts and camps, and the NBA still must conduct its lottery to determine the order of the draft. Sullinger will likely answer a lot of questions between now and then. But when it comes to the question of whether hell spend his rookie season with the Cavs, dont bank on it being a yes. Just the opposite, actually. Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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