Tenth Pick Tournament Round One: Jared Sullinger vs. Arnett Moultrie

Published: June 7, 2012

James Grayson & Ryan Schwan square off in this Hornets247 Tenth Pick Tournament matchup which pits PF/C prospects Jared Sullinger against Arnett Moultrie.

Jared Sullinger


by James Grayson

Every year an NBA Draft will bring experts and scouts together to assess how talented a player is and where he fits in the pool of talent on offer. A lot of times you’ll hear terms like, “He has a very high ceiling, but a low floor,” or “He’ll be solid in this league, but nothing special.”

With Jared Sullinger you often hear a lot of people complement his skills, but lament his limited room for growth.

This outrages me because I believe Jared Sullinger will be a very good NBA player.

There are two things we need to do before we break down why I believe Sullinger deserves to be selected with the 10th overall selection by the New Orleans Hornets.

  1. What are his skills and deficiencies?
  2. How does he fit in with the Hornets?

As well we shall touch on why he’s a better prospect than Arnett Moultrie.

First let’s address what Sullinger does well. For those that watch a little college basketball, you will know that Jared Sullinger is an extremely gifted player on the offensive end around the basket. He has excellent post up moves with good, sound foot work as well as the toughness needed to grab offensive rebounds.

Sullinger is the 10th best per minute scorer in DraftExpresses Top-100 prospects. This is no coincidence as Ohio State ran multiple low-post sets for Sullinger where he was routinely double-teamed. This also highlights another one of his skills, passing.

Because Jared has a refined post-game he often see’s opponents double team him on either the catch or the dribble. Sullinger’s quality feel for the game allows him to either make moves away from this double team to score, or make the pass to the open man.

One of the criticisms you’ll find of Sullinger is that he doesn’t possess any athleticism or length necessary to compete with the big boys in the NBA. This is true, but there are plenty of examples of Power-Forwards (which he will be) that are 6-9 and under succeeding the NBA *Cough* David West *Cough*.

And for those looking for the length of Moultrie (6-11), why does he have a worse Block Percentage (2.1%) than Jared Sullinger (4.0%)?

Aside from that, most of the skills that Sullinger is weak at is due to his physical attributes. The beautiful part about Jared is that he knows who he is and has a game that fits that. While he does have a jumpshot of sorts (hit 40% of his threes) he didn’t attempt as many as he will need to in the NBA. Developing the face-up aspect of his game will be tough, but one which he can achieve and has shown an ability to develop.

As for how he fits in with the Hornets it’s relatively simple. We’ve already heard that New Orleans is looking very seriously at him with the 10th pick. Sullinger’s skills paired with a shot-blocking Anthony Davis go very well together. Davis doesn’t really have the advanced isolation game which Jared has, nor does Sullinger have the shot-blocking and elite rebounding that Anthony has.

Mixing their games together would be like butter on bread. Not only that, but the Hornets lack a low-post scorer that they so desperately need. Looking around the draft boards it’s unlikely that there will be any more immediate low-post scorers in the entire draft.

In terms of roster depth I think Sullinger will fit in right above Gustavo Ayon and Jason Smith (who can rotate between the PF and C positions). Drafting Sullinger might be a risk when it comes to a point-guard prospect, but truth be told that position is quite weak this year in the draft.

In comparison to Moultrie, Sullinger stands out and is the much better player. While some will like Moultrie’s potential the fact remains that there are large parts of his game that are unknown and vastly inferior. For his size it would be apparent that Arnett might be a better shot blocker than he is. As well his defensive rotations are late and not always there which is similar to Sullinger. He relies a lot on living off the scraps on offense and cannot create his own shot, where in comparison Sullinger can.

Moultrie’s weaknesses also extend to several other areas such as:

  • Poor strength, will get pushed around in the NBA
  • Inconsistent motor
  • Called out team-mates — shows poor leadership

I’m sure my opponent will no doubt include a lot of statistics in his argument for Arnett Moultrie. This will be to convince you of his “hype,” and “potential.” I for one still can’t get over that train wreck that was Julian Wright to give the word potential another go.

The way I and many others see it, Jared Sullinger can be the low-post option next to an elite defensive center. If Anthony Davis is such a center it seems very appropriate to place a power-forward with the skills needed down low to make a good team that much better.

Arnett Moultrie


by Ryan Schwan

Every year draft evaluations are littered with words and phrases like “undersized”, “tweener”, “doesn’t have a position in the NBA”, and “Who will he defend?”.

You will hear all of those applied to Jared Sullinger.  Sullinger has been dinged for his slow-footed defense.  He’s been called too short.  He’s been called fat.  You will have people point out that he struggled mightily in the last few games of the NCAA tournament when going up against big men who were actually big and could jump.

You will not hear any of that applied to Arnett Moultrie.  Moultrie stands 6-11.  He weighs a neat 230 lbs.  He is tall, long, and has the athletic gifts you’d expect in an NBA big man prospect.   Moultrie is one man who will not start every game at a disadvantage against the players facing him.  Oh, and he put up 34 points on 23 shots in his last game this season.

Moultrie’s abilities in college, however, are not all due to his size advantage.  He has skills.   He averaged 16.4 points on a mere 10.9 shots in college, drilling a great 78% of his free throws – which is a solid predictor for a player’s shooting talent going into the NBA.  Even from deep – where he took barely more than one three pointer every other game, he hit a nice 44.4% of them.   What’s more, in his interview at the Hornets practice facility, unlike players like Zeller and Henson, who talked about their jumpshots, Moultrie talked about rebounding and defense.  You know, the important stuff for NBA big men.

Moultrie has skills, averaging a nice 16 and 10 for Mississipi state this year.  He can rebound.  He can shoot.  He can finish on the pick and roll.  He was in the top 25 in the nation in offensive rebounding by any measure you look at.  Sullinger?  He wasn’t in the top 25 at all.  In any category.

You may have heard of Sullinger.  It’s time to hear about Moultrie.

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