Dwane Casey expects Jared Sullinger to be Toronto’s starting power forward
The Toronto Raptors didn’t give Jared Sullinger the full mid-level exception this summer expecting him to ride the bench all year, and they appear to be planning accordingly.
According to a report by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun quoting head coach Dwane Casey on Thursday, the Raptors are going into training camp with the assumption that Sullinger will be the team’s starting power forward unless he “come[s] out and stink[s] up the place.”
The Raptors will go into camp assuming Sullinger is the starting power forward. "Unless (JV/JS) come out and stink up the place," Casey said
— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) July 14, 2016
The 24-year-old Sullinger averaged 10.3 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game for the Celtics last season but wore out his welcome in Boston thanks to persistent issues with his weight.
Sullinger has talent as a rebound gobbler/inside scorer and has also been developing his three-point shot over the last few seasons. But his conditioning struggles have proven quite problematic, as he was barely even in sufficient shape to make it up and down the floor in the Celtics’ first-round defeat to the Atlanta Hawks last postseason.
In the very real possibility that Sullinger does indeed stink up the joint, Casey has many other options at the power forward position. Jason Thompson is a more mobile big, Patrick Patterson is a better exemplar of a stretch four, and, should Casey want to downsize, DeMarre Carroll could be the key to some junior lineup deadliness.
It looks like Sullinger, a former First Team All-American at Ohio State, will be given ample opportunity to succeed in Toronto. But if he can’t keep himself in proper basketball shape or improve on his woeful efficiency for a big man, Casey may not hesitate to yank on the leash.
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