Much ado has been made about Jared Sullinger's offseason weight regimen. Why? Because the freshman version of Sully -- the 6-foot-8, 280-pound man-child -- brutalized low-post defenders precisely because he was so big. His wide shoulders allowed him to finish strong, and his massive rear end created the crucial space in the first place. Why would Sullinger want to lose those two advantages?
Well, for one thing, a 6-foot-8 power forward can't pretend he's Shaquille O'Neal in the NBA. If you're 6-foot-8 in the Association, you have to have something else in your game. You have to be able to step back and hit the jumper. You have to be able to run the floor. You have to be able to defend multiple positions. And you have to be in peak physical shape. Being a plant-and-post center might have worked for a year of college, but it would do little to prepare Sullinger for his future.
Besides, as I saw at the Nike Skills Camps this summer, Sullinger's more versatile game might make him twice as deadly.
Anyway, how much weight has Sullinger lost? I don't have an exact figure for you, but I do have this Instagram photo the forward posted to his Twitter account last night. I don't mean to spend too much time critiquing a photo of a 20-year-old man posing for a shirtless photo in the bathroom mirror, but let's be honest -- the big fella looks downright svelte. He barely resembles the hulking freshman of 2011, the guy that looked like an intentionally bulky offensive lineman. Wait until casual fans see Sullinger in November. Some might not recognize him.
By the way, Sullinger included a caption with his photo. It read: "Hard work pays off." Apparently so.
Man, I have to get to the gym today.