Some players will claim that they never read what the media has to say about them. Some say they just don't care. But I get a feeling that more really do read what's being said. They just don't want you to know that they do (or that it might bother them). Jared Sullinger has no such fears. He's perfectly confident in taking in what the media has to say and kicking it back to them with a well thought out, confident response. (This seems to be something he's learned from his father Satch Sullinger, who is not shy on twitter, in a good way)
We've already heard Sullinger refute any and all "tank" talk. But his latest comments strike me as being a direct retort to something written on ESPN Insider a few weeks back. First the ESPN comment.
As is, the Celtics figure to be in the running for not just the league's worst defense, but I struggle to see how they score enough to fight their way into the playoff picture. Remember, this was the 20th-ranked team in offensive efficiency last season, and that was with Pierce, Garnett, a healthy Rajon Rondo and Terry. Who's their No. 1 scoring option next season? Jeff Green? Yikes.
Now Sullinger's recent comments.
"For sure we're not tanking. I know that for a fact," he said. "We don't believe in that. Our whole squad is pretty upset about that. We're just going to go out and play hard and we're going to try to make the playoffs." "People talk about this team is not going to be very good, Jeff Green is your All-Star or your best player, it's a sign of 0-and-82. We've heard it all," he said. "We're just going to take it personal."
Sure sounds like that ESPN quote (specifically about Jeff Green) is what he's responding to here doesn't it? Well, that quote and several others like it. I'm not bringing this up to talk about the "are they tanking or not?" debate (hint: the players are not tanking, the front office might be another story).
Regardless, I like Sullinger's attitude. I like the fact that he's not afraid to claim ignorance and brush off the questions. He's confident and enthusiastic about the team's chances next year and he absolutely should be. We've heard all about his basketball IQ being high. It sure sounds like he's got some leadership skills as well.
Yup, I'm already a big Sully fan. Looking forward to seeing him walk the walk as well as talk the talk.