BOSTON- The Boston Celtics recent drafts are subject to debate as to whether they were productive or not. In my mind the Boston Celtics drafts have been solid as a guy like Avery Bradley was drafted late and has potential to be a force in this league. Other picks former Celtics draft picks like JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore were solid enough to be used as chips to trade for a needed proven veteran like Courtney Lee. However, picks like J.R. Giddens and Gabe Pruitt have not exactly panned out so I can at least see the criticism some people may have. However, the one fact that is not debatable is that unless there is a rash of injuries on the Celtics, Celtic rookies do not see a lot of time on the floor. Celtic rookies also are never going into camp with any realistic shot a job in the head coach Doc Rivers‘s rotation.
However, this season the Boston Celtics drafted a man that is just different than the other guys the Celtics have drafted in recent years. Unlike most late draft picks that are a project or need at least a year of seasoning, rookie power forward Jared Sullinger is a very polished product at the offensive end and comes with the ever important “He just knows how to the play the game” line. The last Celtic with that compliment coming out of the draft was one PauL Pierce and that turned out pretty good for the Celtics.
Sullinger demonstrated this polish during the Summer Leagues. Sullinger looked like a man playing amongst boys most nights. The rookie would show a nose for rebounding, an excellent amount of effort and energy on the floor, and a great post game offensively. Sullinger lived up to the “knows how to play the game” compliment as he would make the right sweet move in the post over and over again as he seemed to be playing the game in slow motion at times in his head as he devoured his defender in the paint. The fact Sullinger finished in the paint was not nearly as impressive is how he drew contact and could still finish. The skills Sullinger showed were all skills that Boston players had a severe shortage of last season.
Despite the obvious skills and potential Sullinger showed, the team still signed veteran big men like Darko Milicic, Chris Wilcox, and Jason Collins to go along with last year’s starters in Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass. Many felt that Sullinger would be buried on the Celtics bench like most rookies in Boston due to the tremendous depth that Boston had acquired.
In a recent interview, Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers made it clear that the rookie had impressed him. The rookie impressed Rivers so much that Rivers made it clear that there minutes in the rotation for Sullinger to hold on to or lose depending on his training camp performance. Since 2008, I have never heard Doc Rivers say a rookie is probably going to see action in the rotation this early in the year with almost a full and healthy roster. This fact of rotation minutes being dangled in front of him despite a crowded roster shows that Sullinger is no ordinary rookie project.
The fact is the Celtics got lucky in the draft because Sullinger is a special player. Heck, I am not the only one that feels this way because how many rookies are picked to be an endorser for the Jordan brand sneaker? Sullinger is polished and can help Boston right now and is not as much a project as most rookies let alone late draft picks. I look for Sullinger to win a role in the rotation in camp and go on really contribute for the Celtics this season despite being a rookie. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!