The Celtics have had just two games in the preseason thus far, and Brad Stevens (and everyone else) has warned us not to put too much stock into the starting lineups or any of the rotations. But it is hard to ignore the fact that Jared Sullinger hasn't been in the starting lineup yet. In fact, you might be tempted to wonder if he's been pushed to the back of the big man rotation. Still, there's a few games left in the preseason and time enough for him to prove his worth to the coaching staff. And if it so happens that his minutes drop in favor of some of the other guys, it sounds like he'll have the right kind of attitude.
"Yeah, for sure," Sullinger said. "At the same time, I’m not here to make it a rivalry between me, Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller), Kelly (Olynyk), Jonas (Jerebko) or D-Lee. My biggest thing is I just want us to win. If that’s me cutting back my minutes, that’s me cutting back my minutes, but the ultimate goal is to win basketball games. That’s the ultimate goal as a team, as a unit. Going forward, it’s a long season. You never know what’s going to happen, so you’ve just got to stay ready. "There ain’t no added focus. Like I said, I’m not here to make it a rivalry. It’s just when my number’s called, I’ve got to be ready to play and just do what I’ve been doing the past three years."
Sounds exactly like the kind of attitude that David Lee had last year and it is the kind of attitude that (barring a trade) at least a few guys on the team are going to have to adopt going forward into the season.
So far, knock on wood, the team is relatively healthy. A flu-like bug worked around the team and Perry Jones III missed a game for personal reasons, but beyond that it has just been a minor knee issue for Evan Turner and now a minor knee issue with Terry Rozier. So there will be no easy decisions for Stevens when the opening day lineup is posted and the first game gets under way.
That is, unless Danny Ainge makes a move or two to make things a little easier. It is worth monitoring the teams around the league that have new injuries or guys that showed up to camp out of shape. Occasionally preseason will create demand for players that wasn't there before. Just something to keep an ear out for.