Jared Sullinger had a very good day yesterday. So good that his coach felt comfortable having a good laugh at his expense.
"Jared was wonderful," said coach Doc Rivers. "He’s such a smart player. When you watch him, you don’t see rookie. You just see a big fat guy playing basketball." Rivers smiled broadly as he made the remark, reflecting on Sullinger’s contributions to Boston’s 93-76 victory.
Gee, thanks coach. Fine, I'll lay off the Christmas dessert platter.
Seriously though, Jared has the potential to be very valuable to this team in the very near future. He's a rookie and he's struggled with being foul prone and has made some typical first year mistakes (and thus the ire of his coach). But what he brings to the ...ahem.. table, is a buffet of IQ, instinct, and flat out talent.
Sullinger's currently 13th among rookies in PER, a measure of a player's efficiency, and third in rebound rate. He's averaging 5.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in 17.7 minutes, not numbers to set the world ablaze, but he's doing so while knowing his role -- Sullinger's usage rate of 14.8 percent is tiny, even for a bench player. He focuses instead on defense and rebounding -- his lack of elite length and athleticism keeps him from being a dominant defender, but he generally positions himself well and has taken to drawing charges. And he's by far Boston's best on the glass, leading second-best Kevin Garnett in rebound percentage by a wide margin (17.4 to 14.6).
Start the movement. We want more Sullinger!
I don't know if that means putting him in the starting lineup in place of Jason Collins or just upping his minutes off the bench (likely at the expense of Bass, but so be it) but the kid can play and probably should play more.
Hey here's an original idea that hasn't been discussed on the forums 1,001 times. Let's deal from depth and package Courtney Lee and Brandon Bass for a really good center. Oh, you've thought of that too? Ok, carry on.