We continue to preview the Boston Celtics roster for the 2012-2013 season and today we look at Jared Sullinger’s outlook for this upcoming season. Sullinger is one of three Celtics draft picks from last June’s NBA Draft. A power forward out of Ohio State, he was a key member of Thad Matta’s most recent NCAA Tournament teams. He helped lead them to the Final Four last season where they eventually lost to national runner up Kansas.
Sullinger is an interesting story because after his freshman year of college, he was considered a top 5 pick and a future franchise cornerstone. He weighed the pro’s and con’s and decided that another season in college would benefit him more than leaving early for the NBA. The move was a questionable one as he battled a myriad of injuries this past year and his play suffered. His stock took a hit and the Celtics capitalized as he fell all the way to the 21st pick in the NBA draft. You can bet that GM Danny Ainge and Celtics head coach were doing cart wheels once they saw Sullinger still available. A number of teams were scared off because of back problems. The green knew they had to take a chance because his talent was simply too good to pass up.
Sullinger is an excellent offensive player. He has a wide and strong 6’9 frame. He uses his power and strength in the post to create spots where he can post up and catch the ball. He has an array of moves that he utilizes. He is also a great rebounder on both ends of the glass. Anyone who has watched the Celtics over the past few years knows that rebounding has always been an issue. Sullinger can certainly help out on the glass. He can also hit the open 15-18 foot jumper and this is obviously a quality that the Celtics crave out of their big men.
He does come with his weaknesses as well. His athleticism has always been criticized and against taller players he typically struggles. Head coach Doc Rivers will have to come up with creative ways to make sure he puts Sullinger in the best possible situations to succeed. A decent defender, he struggles with lateral movements and this could hurt his help side defense. He obviously needs to get in better strength and team trainer Brian Doo will make sure that happens.
The role that Jared Sullinger will play for the 2012-2013 season has still yet to be determined. He is a very seasoned player who has the ability to step in and play meaningful minutes. However, the team’s front court rotation is very crowded at the moment. You have to figure he will share minutes with Brandon Bass and Jeff Green. The main reason I expect him to get meaningful minutes to start is simply because of his rebounding ability. For his career, Sullinger has the potential to become an excellent player. For his ceiling, think Carlos Boozer. A floor comparison would be Glen Davis, a former Celtic. The sky is the limit for this young rookie and success should come very soon.
Rob Lunder covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. For all Celtics news, check out the Boston Celtics homepage on Rant Sports.