Jared Sullinger has shown the Boston Celtics and the rest of the league what he’s capable of. After a game against the Indiana Pacers, Roy Hibbert proclaimed Sullinger as “the Kevin Love of the East.” Could this be true?
Sullinger’s rebounding and shooting ability shows some glimpses of Love. He is averaging 13.4 PPG and 8.3 RPG in just his second season, and the league is wondering just how good he can become. After dominant years at Ohio State University, he was projected as a lottery pick but slid down due to his back problems and lack of athleticism. Although he still has problems with his back, athleticism hasn’t been an albatross. He’s used his offensive moves and shooting abilities to drown defenders. He’s even strengthened his range by knocking down long distance three-pointers.
Although Sullinger can be a threat on the offensive end, we have to talk about his rebounding. Sullinger is simply a beast on the boards. He has had games with rebounding numbers of 20, 17, 16 and 14. He will definitely be one of the best rebounders for years to come, and he is doing this without athleticism. He maneuvers his 260-pound frame to grab down boards over the more athletic. See the comparison yet?
Love is arguably the best power forward in the league. No forward and center can even relate to the numbers he is getting night in and night out. Averaging 25.7 PPG and 13.3 RPG, he is simply doing what others are doing times 10. It would take Sullinger 12 more points and five more rebounds to be where Love is.
Statistically, the comparison may be a long shot, but the style of play and production are comparable. The comparison is there; Sullinger just needs to continue to work hard. I can see him averaging 20 and 10 in about five years. He’s definitely learned a thing or two from Kevin Garnett. If Rajon Rondo can see this comparison, it may entice him to stay.
Jared Hughes is a Boston Celtics writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @CoolHughes, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.