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NBA Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics: Jared Sullinger A Cornerstone Player For the Team

Getty Images

Getty Images

Despite only winning 25 games during the 2013-14 NBA season, the Boston Celtics proved that they have many pieces to build upon for the future. One of those building blocks for the future is big man Jared Sullinger.

Sullinger, only 22-years-old out of Ohio State, is coming off of his second season in the pros with the Celtics, and has improved greatly since his rookie year. During his first season, Sullinger was on a veteran filled team led by Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. With Garnett in the starting lineup, Sullinger had to make a name for himself coming off of the Celtics bench. He averaged only six points and six rebounds in limited minutes under then head coach Doc Rivers. Sullinger also missed the second half of his rookie season with ailing back spasms.

But with Pierce and Garnett now playing for the Brooklyn Nets, players such as Sullinger finally got an opportunity to shine with new head coach Brad Stevens at the helm. As a result, Sullinger averaged a career-high 13 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes of play.

In fact, his biggest game during the season came against DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 7. In that game, Sullinger scored a season-high 31 points and 16 rebounds—matching Cousins’ 31 points and 16 rebounds as well. The Celtics would go on to win the game 99-89.

Although he sat out the final three games of the season, Sullinger finished out the month of April strong. He scored 20 points or more three out of the five final games he played in. Sullinger finished the month by averaging 18 points and seven rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the field, and surprisingly 40 percent on three-pointers.

With a young nucleus of Sullinger, rookie Kelly Olynyk and All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, the sky is the limit for the Celtics moving forward.

Wally Jacobs is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @WJac1.