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Jared Sullinger Continues to Improve, Impress

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The national NBA cognescenti is onto the rugged rookie, who keeps impressing with his smart, solid play.

Jared Wickerham

If you aren't already impressed with Jared Sullinger's rookie season play and need your excitement regarding his future prospects stoked any further, allow us to introduce you to ESPN's David Thorpe.

Thorpe, a noted NBA scout who writes a regular column for ESPN.com, loves Sullinger. He even thinks that the rook is almost at the same level defensively as Kevin Garnett. See for yourself. High praise indeed.

As the Celts continue to try to find themselves as a team, Sullinger's work has been a godsend. He is further along within the system than any of the other newcomers, or even some players who've been here longer than just this season. He is tough, aggressive and seemingly always willing to to the dirty work underneath even though he entered the NBA as a go-to guy during his days at Ohio State.

Sullinger is only averaging 5.5 points and 5.5 assists per game but he has come up big in his last two, both Celtics' wins (19 rebounds combined) and hasn't finished with less than five boards since a loss at Chicago back on Dec. 18.

His sturdy PER of 13 and his across the board totals in true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage and defensive rating are all solid. Not to mention his tremendous defensive rebounding rate of 22.1, referred to by Thorpe as "dominant."

No wonder the vets love him. Look what Paul Pierce said about him on Monday:

This is just the beginning for Sullinger. Should he stay a Celtic and not get traded, as some of the many rumors are currently suggesting, and remains healthy as well, he has a nice future ahead of him. And on a day like Monday, when Rajon Rondo was once again suspended for not being able to control himself, just the latest puzzling event in a season full of them, Sullinger's progress is even more comforting.