Photo: AP Images
Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger is quickly becoming the most polarising player in this summer’s NBA Draft.Some people are calling him the next Kevin Love. While others, including Big Lead Sports’ Jason McIntyre, say he’ll only be a solid role player in the NBA.
So who’s right?
Once you dive into the stats, you find that Sullinger is stunningly similar to Love as a college player.
First off, take a look at this chart of their respective college numbers:
Love is a hair better all around. But what’s important is that the shape of both players’ charts are identical, meaning they’re the same type of player — offensive-minded big men who rebound but don’t do a lot else.
You shouldn’t take this chart as gospel. It’s really limited, and every scoring big man will look more or less the same.
To get a full grasp of how similar the college versions of Love and Sullinger were, take a look at these stats:
- Love shot 76.7% on free throws, 55.9% on field goals, and 35.4% on threes. Sullinger’s percentages were 73-53-36.
- Love took 10.3 shots per game, 2.1 three-points per game, and 6.6 free throws per game. Sullinger averaged 11.1-0.68-6.5 in those categories.
- Love averaged 3.6 offensive rebounds per game. Sullinger averaged 3.3.
Love was a slightly better passer, defensive rebounder, and shot blocker. But other than that they were the same player statistically.
The similarities continue when you move beyond statistics too. Both guys were tubby, small-ish forwards without the freakish athleticism of their fellow lottery picks.
Even though Love is an MVP candidate now, a ton of people questioned whether his game would translate to the NBA level when he was drafted in 2008. And they’re saying the same thing about Sullinger now.
Love succeeded in the NBA because he got in better shape, developed his mid-range and three-point game, and still rebounded with the same intensity that he did in college.
There’s no reason Sullinger can’t do the same.
Look, the chances of Sullinger actually becoming Love and averaging 26 points and 14 in the NBA in four years are slim.
But the stats don’t lie — Sullinger and Love were really, really similar college players. So as unlikely or crazy as it sounds, you can’t dismiss the Love-Sullinger comparisons yet.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.