“Jared was wonderful. He’s such a smart player. When you watch him, you don’t see rookie. You just see a big fat guy playing basketball.”
—Doc Rivers, Celtics coach, throwing some kind words toward Jared Sullinger… sort of. Quote via the Boston Globe.
Sullinger had a 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, plus 7 rebounds in Boston’s Christmas Day win over Brooklyn. Sullinger did a lot of his damage in the second quarter, when the Nets went small and tried to switch everything on defense and it created mismatches everywhere that Sullinger and other Celtics could exploit. (Note to Avery Johnson: I know you are desperately looking for a defense that works, but a small lineup with Gerald Wallace at the four only works if the other four guys on the court are athletic and hustle like Wallace. Miami can get away with that. You can’t.)
Sullinger has looked like a good rookie draft pick by the Celtics. There were concerns about his body coming out of Ohio State — medical red flags dropped him down the draft board. But I was told those concerns were really about his ability to stick in the league long term (beyond 5-6 years), not if he could play short term. No doubt, he can play.