Now that we’re in late December, it’s time to see which players are proving to be the main focal point for the future of the Boston Celtics. I personally think everybody on this roster has stepped up in a big way, but the player I’m very happy to have on the Celtics is Jared Sullinger.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see too much of him last season because of a back injury that dampened his rookie season. Sullinger has put up some stellar numbers so far this season with 14.1 points and 7.1 rebounds in 27 games played. Jared Sullinger was drafted 21st overall by the Celtics in the 2012 draft and he is playing like he should have been a top 3 selection.
Most of the big men that are selected around that point in the draft aren’t big name studs in the NBA and some of them struggle to stay on a roster. Sullinger is a great asset for the Celtics and his style of play will be part of the success of the Celtics.
His offensive game is continuing to build and we are learning new capabilities all the time from Sullinger. The best part of his game is his ability in the low post. He uses his large body to back down defenders to create space to get himself a clear shot. He crashes the boards very well and is always giving his team second chance scoring opportunities. Head coach Brad Stevens is giving Sullinger the green light to keep shooting 3-pointers, and he hits them at the right moments in the game. This will be a big commodity for the Celtics as 3-point shooting forwards/centers are hard to find in the NBA.
His defensive game is still a learning process, but it continues to get better game after game. Sullinger has been playing center in recent games and he has been stuck guarding big physical centers like Dwight Howard, Roy Hibbert and Zach Randolph. Standing at 6’9″, Sullinger is too short to be a rim protector and he will not be able to block many shots. Sullinger has been working very closely with teammate Brandon Bass on ways to keep their opponents out of the paint in any way possible. Going back to his large body, he has been able to use it to his advantage to keep his opponents out of the paint and put them in uncomfortable positions. His defensive game still needs a little more improvement, but he is showing promise that he can be just as effective on defense as he is on offense.
Jared Sullinger is starting to show a vocal presence on the floor as well as a physical presence. He is starting to call for the ball when he is open on the floor whether it is in the low post or on the perimeter. During timeouts, he is voicing up in the huddle to his teammates on what kinds of weaknesses he is seeing on the floor from the other team and the rest of the team rallies behind him to keep themselves in a good position to win.
Jared Sullinger is truly a star in the making for the Celtics and we are very fortunate to have him here. Roy Hibbert complimented Sullinger’s game after the Celtics took a beating in Indiana saying that Sullinger is the Kevin Love of the East. Without question we will be seeing Jared Sullinger play in the rookie vs. sophomore game down in New Orleans during the All-Star festivities and he will be putting on a show for the Big Easy.