Jared Sullinger has arguably been the Boston Celtics’ best player over the course of the season. He’s on a verge of a breakout year and has become a reliable option on offense. Sullinger was on a bit of hot streak, averaging about 18 points and eight rebounds a game for a 12-game stretch. He scored in double-digits in 11 of the 12 games, over 20 points in five of those games, over 15 in three more, and recorded four double-doubles. However, he has come back down to earth in the last two games.
A little over a week ago, Sullinger struggled against the Indiana Pacers. He only scored six points on 3-of-9 shooting with two rebounds and two turnovers in a mere 16 minutes of play. Players always have a bad game once in a while, but it might be worrisome that Sullinger struggled in two consecutive games. Against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, he struggled from the field, going 4-for-14 with eight points, three rebounds, and committing four fouls. It seems odd that after such a great run Sullinger would struggle so much in two consecutive games.
What is most concerning is that Sullinger is not contributing on the boards as much as he should. To struggle on offense is one thing, but to disappear on the glass is another. Sullinger needs to find other ways to contribute. If he is having trouble finding his shot then Sullinger needs to become a rebounding machine, play tough defense, set screens, move the ball around, and do anything he can help his team out.
Sullinger has the tools to becoming a terrific player, but he needs to improve his mental toughness in the midst of slumps. And hopefully that’s all this is — a slump. Hopefully Sullinger can get back on track against the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday afternoon.