In the midst of a tumultuous and semi-abysmal stretch for the Boston Celtics, Jared Sullinger remains a bright shining spot in the franchise’s future and present.
It’s becoming more and more evident that coach Doc Rivers is trusting Sullinger with more responsibility as each game passes. He’s not only getting more minutes, but his role is evolving and it’s becoming plain to see that with the Celtics size and rebounding issues they can’t afford to not give this kid a chance. Sullinger has played valuable minutes alongside Kevin Garnett and the veteran has nothing but sky-high praise for the kid, which alone should speak deafening volumes at the very least.
Sullinger’s biggest issue at this young stage in his game is foul trouble. It as if he wears a sign on his chest that reads “I’m a big fat rookie, blow the whistle.” It seems as if whenever he gets going and starts injecting some toughness and life into his team he gets one too many whistles and then has to sit, leaving the slumping undersized Brandon Bass to pick up the pieces, or even worse, the 7-foot shell of Jason Collins.
With the Celtic’s current shortage of bigs, it seems highly unlikely that Danny Ainge would ever let such a big fat ball of potential go in any trade that didn’t bring back any player with the last name of Smith, Howard, Cousins, Randolph etc. With so many rumors surrounding the struggling Celtics, it’s evident that Sully’s name is becoming more and more protected and it could already be to the point where they simply won’t let him go unless the return was a top-5 proven big man, and even, then it seems Ainge would still be reluctant to say the least.
Sullinger has shown vast improvements in a very short period of time, especially offensively within 5-8 feet of the basket. He plays with a grind-it-out, get-in-position, and carve-out-space kind of throwback style, and seems to put those awkward buckets in all while pulling down more offensive boards than the Celtics have seen in a long, long, time. He also shows versatility in knocking down some outside jumpers, and surely it wont be long til he is getting even more looks then he’s getting now.
Not one play is ever called for the kid, but he always seems to be in the right place at the right time with the ball under the basket, looking for the blue sky to go nowhere but up. He’s only halfway through his rookie year, and Sullinger is already turning into a walking double-double, and is shining bright where there is an abundance of darkness.
If Sullinger stays healthy and continues to improve, it wont be long before he is the stone cold definition of a true “steal” in the NBA draft at the 21st overall pick.