Sunday, November 8, 2015
Where's the Love?
Jared Sullinger, 21st overall pick of the 2012 NBA draft to the Celtics. Much hullabaloo was made about this pick, the Celtics included. Doc Rivers was quoted that before flagged medically for a back issue, he would have been in the Top 5. They saw great promise in this PF out of Ohio State. They were willing to take the risk vs. reward.
In the 2012-2013 season, after appearing in forty-five games in his rookie campaign, was side lined for the year when he underwent back surgery to repair a lumbar disk. This however, was something of a known inevitability. He made a complete recovery.
In his second season, 2013-2014, he played in 74 of 82 games, starting forty-four, increasing his per game statistics in rebounding, assists, blocks, points, free throw and 3pt field goal percentage.
Last year, in his third season, he played in 58 of 82 games, starting in forty-nine of them. His statistics either remained consistent or improved across the board until he fell victim to a broken foot in February of 2015. Shortly thereafter, articles surfaced that Jared was facing a heavy burden, notably his weight. Danny Ainge, President of Basketball Operations openly criticized Jared for his lack of conditioning. The status was he would be out for the remainder of the season and they wanted Jared to commit to a conditioning schedule coming into this season.
However, the Celtics behind a remarkable 24-16 second half run, made the playoffs. And who did they play during these playoffs? He played all 4 games averaging 20 minutes, and a 21.6 PER (Player Efficiency Rating) which rates the players per minute production which was 6 points higher than the league average of 15.
Fast forward to this preseason where he was the 6th big man on the depth chart, on the outside, looking in, to get playing time. Boston media recently brought up the C's not signing Sully to an extension and he replied that he will just continue to prove the doubters wrong which he said even included family members.
Five games into the season he is 1st among the Celtics Big man in minutes, rebounds, assists, blocks, Field goal percentage and shots made behind the arc.
So, I say, "Where is the Love for the Big man?"
He has incredibly soft hands, unbelievable rebounding instincts, great body control and seems to be a genuinely nice guy. I personally think the Celtics push on the weight issue because they envision him being a cornerstone to their future. And although he is on a torrid pace right now and may level off a bit, he is definitely trending upward and on pace to have his best season as a pro yet. This will bode well for the C's chances making the playoffs.
Here is to Sully having a career year, staying healthy, going deep into the playoffs and remaining a Celtic for a long time.
In the meantime, give Sully some Love. He's earned it. And enjoy watching him prove all the doubters wrong.