Boston Celtics' Rookie Jared Sullinger "Pleads the Fifth" in Case to Start
It is becoming clearer and clearer that Jared Sullinger and not Brandon Bass will be the fifth starter and that the Celtics may have found their "round-mound” of basketball in Sully.
By no means, am I declaring Sullinger a perennial all-star or slotted for basketball immortality in Springfield. He has a long way to go. However, his talent screams "I can start now."
Understanding where to be and spacing is crucial in Doc's system, given Rondo's propensity for bending the ball with amazing efficiency. You can see it in the new motion offense that Rivers has installed involving a lot of pin-down actions with the four-man.
It was good strategy, allowing the Celtics to take advantage of Amare' Stoudemire's absence. When it was Bass, it was clear that he was uncomfortable with his back to the basket, He was called for a moving screen and I believe a three second call when he ran it with Pierce. Brandon played more like a second year player than the seasoned vet he purports himself to be.
When Boston ran the same play with the rookie; he was able to seal his man effectively, showed his natural knack for rebounding and even managed to out run a faster defender for a fast break layup. Though in his defense, Bass was able to get a layup like that too.
Sometimes the game of basketball is like chess; you position yourself in a way to take advantage of your opponent’s lack of foresight.
The further along you get into the game the more mental acumen is required as you have both exhausted your physical skills. There is also one piece in chess whose skills and impact to the game is often taken for granted - the Rook. The Boston Celtics has its own in the form of rookie, Jared Sullinger. He fell out of the lottery because of his perceived back problems, lack of height and Glen “Big Baby” Davis build.
The first part of the quote can easily be attached to Sully, he does appear to be all of the above; however it does go on to describe the Rook as such: “The rook is far from a plodding piece, and the player that gets his or her rooks into the game most effectively often turns out to be the winner. In the history of chess, the rook developed from the chariot: It is both fast and strong and therefore of considerable value.”
Winning has always been attached to Sully's game, and like the last part of the definition goes on to say: “Unfortunately, it begins the game tucked into a corner and usually has to wait for the other pieces to settle into their preferred squares before receiving any attention.” Jared understands that he has to wait his turn; in the meantime, he will use his basketball intelligence to show that he may be next in the line of great Celtics.
After watching Sully operate now through three preseason games, it is clear that the Celtics will not have any significant drop-off in performance with NO. 7. He adds a deceptive toughness and quality rebounding that the Celtics need. It is also becoming apparent, that Bass is a better fit with the second unit.
The fact of the matter is that Sullinger has the greater value as a starter and there isn’t much difference in their games and Boston’s coaching staff sees it and knows it.