The Boston Celtics are rumored to be in on the sweepstakes for Kevin Love this offseason, and the visit Love took to Boston last weekend didn’t really calm things down.
Jared Sullinger, along with Kelly Olynyk, are rumored to be the key figures in the trade, along with draft picks, but those are the two player who have the highest probability of going. Let’s break it down and look at the pros and cons of the Celtics keeping each player.
Sullinger is an interesting player. He was thought of as a sure fire top-10 pick when he came out in the 2012 NBA Draft, but back concerns dropped him to the 21st pick where the Celtics drafted him.
Sullinger is younger than Olynyk, even while being in the league longer; Sullinger is 22 and Olynyk is 23. Their birthdays have passed, so that’s their age going into next season. Sullinger is a bit stronger than Olynyk, and is less likely to get bullied while defending down on the block.
Sullinger showed improvement over his rookie year, which saw him miss half the season after receiving back surgery. Sullinger averaged 13 points and eight rebounds per game in just over 27 minutes this season. Sullinger started 44 games and worked on his outside shot.
While it’s still a work in progress, it’s something he’s shown improvement in. He’s a great rebounder given his lack of elite athleticism and under the rim game. He has a post game and a few go-to moves. He’s very strong in the lower body and is good at clearing space in the paint to get easy points.
There are also cons to keeping Sullinger. First off, he’s an undersized power forward at 6-foot-9. His game is very grounded, so the fact that he’s undersized is a huge detriment to his game. He’s not an elite athlete. He’s already made the concerns on his back legitimate with having back surgery his rookie year.
His jump shot is still a little broken — he shot below 30 percent from 3-point land, and in the high 30’s and low 40’s from outside the paint. Most of his production came when he was able to post up and get easy lay ins.
He’s not a very good defender, he won’t block many shots, and he sometimes has trouble holding his spot down in the post. He’s strong enough to be a good defender, he just need to work on his foot work and placement while defending.
Now onto Olynyk. He has position versatility. With his size at 7-foot-1 and his floor game, he is able to play both the center and power forward spot. He has a pretty good jump shot, he was able to make 3’s, and he shot over 35 percent from the 3-point line on the season. He can stretch the floor, and with the direction the league is going, a more space and pace type of offensive stretch bigs are becoming more of a necessity than a luxury.
The cons of keeping Olynyk, he doesn’t have much of a post up game. He’s not a very good rebounder; even in college he didn’t dominate on the boards like he should have. He’s a huge liability defensively, can’t hold position, and has short arms, so he won’t be blocking many shots, and is very weak and tends to get bullied often.
In the end, I think you should keep Olynyk just because of his versatility. Keeping Sullinger would just be keeping something the Celtics have enough of. This is all in the event of Love being traded to play on the Parquet Floor.