While Jeff Green took over in the 4th quarter, it was Jared Sullinger that provided the most consistent performance for the bench unit. Something that was not lost on Doc and the players. They all had nothing but praise for the rookie who doesn't play much like a rookie.
"That's a great example, when you go into games, from our standpoint, we want to look at different guys, and we got a great look at him," head coach Doc Rivers said of Sullinger afterward. "He was terrific. The point I made before the game, it was his first time playing minutes with the starters, and I thought he was good with the starters and I thought he was good with the bench, so that's a good sign. I thought he played with a great calm. For a rookie, he's never in a hurry, that was good."
"His IQ is very high," Kevin Garnett said of the rookie power forward. "I watched him a couple of times while he was (at Ohio State), and we saw a little of what he can do skill-wise. When you play with him you can actually see the IQ." Paul Pierce landed on the same spot. "I think he has a great basketball IQ," he said. Neither player was asked about Sullinger’s basketball intelligence. No leading questions here.
With all of that said, it is important not to overrate a player based on summer league and one preseason game. It will be interesting to see what he does up against taller NBA players. Also, like any rookie, he's going to have to learn the defense better.
Defensively, he needs a little work. Taller FBU players scored with relative ease over the top, an indication that he needs to do his work before the ball gets into the post. A few more sessions in KG’s Finishing School for Aspiring Big Men will no doubt help, but like most rookies, the finer points of NBA post defense are an issue.
Still, all he can do is perform against the competition that's put in front of him. And so far, that's what he's done; game in, game out. As long as he stays healthy, there's little doubt in my mind we got a steal in the draft.