Jared Sullinger has struggled with conditioning issues since he returned from his back injury. But now that he is more than one year removed from the surgery and preparing for a big season, the huffing and puffing has got to stop.
In a report by ESPN's Chris Forsberg, Sullinger expressed the sour taste left in his mouth due to last year's stamina issues. After hard work in the offseason when Sullinger focused solely on getting in shape, he feels one step closer to achieving his goal.
"Not where I want to be, but really, really close. Getting up and down in practice has really been helpful, especially the pace that we're playing. There's no choice but for me to get in shape."
The reason for Sullinger's motivation is Brad Stevens' system. Coach Stevens wants to run a fast paced style of basketball. Rajon Rondo's legs are finally healed, newcomer Marcus Smart likes to hustle; the team understands that they will have to beat teams with speed in order to compete in the Eastern Conference.
Now with the newly acquired Tyler Zeller on the roster, Sullinger has even more work to put in. Zeller is praised for his ability to run the floor despite his monster-like size. With Zeller now in the mix, Stevens expects the team to run every single play. What does this mean for Sullinger?
"You know, it's kind of what we do," Sullinger said of having to chase the likes of Zeller. "It's part of the game, it's part of our job description. You've got to keep up with somebody. Just got to keep playing."
Sullinger still denies that he is where he wants to be. In order to take that next step as a pro, conditioning is key.
Look at his progress!