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Thread: The case for a Davis-Sullinger frontcourt

  1. #1

    The case for a Davis-Sullinger frontcourt

    The conventional thinking in terms of the #10 pick is that we need either a point guard of the future or a swing man to provide scoring off the bench. While I admit these are more immediate needs than adding to the current glut of frontcourt players on the roster, I would argue the Hornets need to be thinking about long-term team construction, not fitting in pieces around the existing mediocrity. The team as currently constructed will be competitive in terms of fighting for a playoff spot but much of the current roster is unlikely to be present when the core comprised of this draft and probably Eric Gordon competes for a title. This is why instead of focusing on immediate need, the Hornets need to be thinking in terms of long-term fit with Anthony Davis and the best available player, and Sullinger if available at #10 would be be both.

    Sullinger has a lot of desirable qualities and a few obvious ceiling-limiting deficiencies. He has easily the most developed post game in this draft, a quality jump shot with range approaching the NBA 3, is a strong offensive and defensive rebounder with a great understanding of positioning and better-than-advertised length, an excellent basketball IQ and good passing out of the post, and a large body ready to bang in the post from day one with the toughness to do so. His deficiencies are that he is an average athlete with poor foot speed and defensive quickness, is short for a 5 and slow for a 4, lacks the ability to alter shots and act as a rim protector at the pro level, and may struggle to adjust against longer defenders at the NBA level.

    The reason I believe Sullinger is a uniquely good fit for the Hornets is that nearly all of his deficiencies, particularly his defensive liabilities, would be disguised by playing next to the best shot altering prospect in recent memory. In turn, he would provide the size and strength to match up with more powerful centers and power forwards without getting backed down and conceding post position and would therefore allow AD to roam, wreak havoc on help defense and in passing lanes, without having to body up with players who outweigh him by 40+ pounds. Offensively, he would provide the post scoring and back-to-the-basket game which Davis can't yet provide, whereas Davis is an elite above the rim finisher and can make plays with his speed, length, and hustle in a way that Sullinger can't because of his weight and lack of quickness. Both players will immediately be plus NBA rebounders, and down the road with Davis' development could have two big men with consistent 20 foot range, passing ability, and post ability. They are also complementary in terms of personality: Davis plays with quiet intensity whereas Sullinger is vocal, emotional, and fiery in a way reminiscent of David West.

    The obvious concerns are that we already would have 4 NBA quality big men on the roster who should play minutes, and that neither of these players is currently a 'true' 5. The first is a real concern. Young players develop best with a consistent role and minutes, and it's hard to find consistent minutes for 5 bigs. The Hornets may need to look into amnestying Okafor, or moving one of the backups---but in terms of our long-term plans, these players only enter the equation as backups. In a worst-case scenario, they could end up hurting each others' development like the Baby Bulls of the early 2000s, although I believe we're a better organization with better coaching and structure than those teams and also believe both of these players are more skilled and prepared for the rigors of the NBA than Chandler and Curry were. The second concern is almost universal in NBA frontcourts. There simply aren't very many 7 footers who are good, skilled, and tough enough to be the platonic ideal of a center. Unless you pay the price, buy a lottery ticket on a guy with limited basketball accumen and hope, pray and wait for the rare player who actually develops, you aren't going to get one. But Davis and Sullinger are both already terrific basketball players and together can do everything you'd functionally want a frontcourt to do plus some other great, unique abilities. It's unlikely that Sullinger even falls to #10; with similar players like Kevin Love and Greg Monroe enjoying success, and even players like Dejuan Blair outperforming many high-ceiling lottery picks, someone is likely to pick him up. But if he does fall, the Hornets should think hard about pairing him with Davis.

  2. #2
    He needs to be available for us to have that option. It's unclear if he will be there. But you better bet that he will be heavily considered if he's available at 10.

  3. #3
    All World Pelicans78's Avatar
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    Obviously I'm a big Sullinger fan so I can agree with this post.

    Sully defends well in the post and in iso. He's not such a great weakside defender and needs to improve on his rotations, but Davis will definitely help out on the weakside.

    On offense, Sully can focus on posting up in the paint or even shoot jumpers if Davis has a mismatch. Both guys can do well in the pick n roll too.

    Emeka Okafor - Joe Smith - Carmelo Anthony - Manu Ginobili - Jason Williams

    Al Jefferson - James Posey - Aaron McKie - Shaun Livingston

  4. #4
    All World Pelicans78's Avatar
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    I don't think he will be available at 10.

  5. #5
    I think it depends on what Portland does at 6. If they reach for Lillard, there's a good shot he'll be there. The only other team that needs big after Portland is Detroit. I think they're going all in with Henson.

  6. #6
    I definitely agree about Sullinger. Going way back to December, the two guys I stated that I wanted were Anthony Davis & Jared Sullinger. Unfortunately, there's a good chance Sullinger will be long gone by 10.

    However, I think if he measures in at 6'9", I think there's a great chance he falls to 10. He's not the most gifted athlete and his upside isn't as great as a number of players in this draft... so a lot of teams in the top 10 will likely consider passing on him. In the Hornets' case... they're already getting the best player in the draft with incredible upside. Sullinger also pairs with Davis very well IMO.

  7. #7
    On a permanent Holiday! Purple Haze's Avatar
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    I'd be quite happy with that if it happens. I love his post up ability and stroke.
    Wherehappens.

  8. #8
    All World Pelicans78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nola Hornet View Post
    I think it depends on what Portland does at 6. If they reach for Lillard, there's a good shot he'll be there. The only other team that needs big after Portland is Detroit. I think they're going all in with Henson.
    I agree. I'm reading that the Pistons would take Henson which does make sense. He will be a good fit next to Monroe. They do need a wing scorer as well so look for Lamb and Ross to be options. I doubt they go PG since Brandon Knight and Stuckey are still there. They won't go with Waiters since they still have Ben Gordon.

  9. #9
    Pistol Pete Would Be Proud!! Trell's Avatar
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    I love this post! Is Sully there, it shouldn't be no considering unless there's a player like Lillard or another big name who fell, if not take Sully with no questions!
    2013-1014 is the season the Pelicans fanbase grows!!!!

  10. #10
    All World Pelicans78's Avatar
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    If we end up with Davis and Sully, that would be sick. My two favorite prospects by far.

  11. #11
    All World Pelicans78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trell View Post
    I love this post! Is Sully there, it shouldn't be no considering unless there's a player like Lillard or another big name who fell, if not take Sully with no questions!
    Rather have Sully over Lillard.

  12. #12
    Pistol Pete Would Be Proud!! Trell's Avatar
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    If he's taken, then there will be another player who'd drop like Harrison Barnes.

  13. #13
    Pistol Pete Would Be Proud!! Trell's Avatar
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    Should we play zone with the two? Anyone...

  14. #14
    All World Pelicans78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trell View Post
    Should we play zone with the two? Anyone...
    We could occasionally. Dallas did it alot last year with Chandler and Dirk.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Trell View Post
    If he's taken, then there will be another player who'd drop like Harrison Barnes.
    No he won't. You have the Kings, Warriors, Raptors, and Pistons. There's no possible way that I can see Barnes falling to 10. At some point some team 5-9 will say it's way too much value to pass up on.

  16. #16
    wahoo Contributor neworleanshoo's Avatar
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    I'd love it if Sully drops. Monty recently commented about the need for length in the NBA. When you have the chance to load up on quality inside big men, you do it.

  17. #17
    Likely landing places could be anywhere from 5 to 9. He isn't a great fit for any of those teams except maybe Portland, but he's good enough to be drafted in any of those spots. The good news is that Greg Monroe and Sullinger would be a pretty bad fit together, as they're very similar players with similar weaknesses and would be bad defensively, but NBA teams make weird decisions all the time. I'd say it's 50/50 whether he drops, and that's reflected in most of the mocks.

  18. #18
    Pistol Pete Would Be Proud!! Trell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nola Hornet View Post
    No he won't. You have the Kings, Warriors, Raptors, and Pistons. There's no possible way that I can see Barnes falling to 10. At some point some team 5-9 will say it's way too much value to pass up on.
    I said "LIKE!"

  19. #19
    For...ev...er... The JNR's Avatar
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    I'd be on board. Like I've said a few times, there are so many different ways we can go at #10 that I'd be fine with any of them. Sully has a ready-made offensive game and would contribute on that side right away. I think he'd be willing to learn and grow under Monty, and might not be as close to his ceiling as people might think.

  20. #20
    I would rather have Henson there if we are picking another 4. We would have incredible length in the front court with Henson and Davis.

  21. #21
    If Sullinger is there at 10 we should definitely take him. Sully and Davis game contrast enough to coexist. With the pick and roll game becoming the norm in the NBA going small with AD and Sully could be the main stay for us defensively. I think Sully has to lose a good bit of weight.

  22. #22
    All-Star glepurple's Avatar
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    I think it could be a great fit...but i would rather marshall
    Last edited by glepurple; 06-02-2012 at 05:38 PM.

  23. #23
    wouldn't be my favorite pick but could definitely live with it. Being able to throw the ball into the post and expect points would be great.

  24. #24
    Could not agree more, if u have a big long athletic quick shot blocker, u NEED an offensive complement like a david west kevin love chris kaman counterpart

  25. #25
    Witch is dead - Now hiring thefuture's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HornetGuru View Post
    Could not agree more, if u have a big long athletic quick shot blocker, u NEED an offensive complement like a david west kevin love chris kaman counterpart

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