Boston's re-signing of power forward Brandon Bass might keep Jared Sullinger from seeing starter minutes in Year One, but Sullinger will still make his presence felt this season.
For starters, Sullinger will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. After he seemed like a lock for the lottery at the beginning of the college season, critics picked apart his game and his stock started to slide.
During the draft process, issues surrounding Sullinger's back only helped accelerate his decline on draft day.
Making things even more embarrassing for Sully, he wasn't even invited to the draft after two seasons of solid numbers at Ohio State.
The draft day freefall actually worked in Sullinger's favor, though. By falling to Boston at No. 21, he'll be surrounded by a veteran team that is a perennial championship contender.
He'll be mentored by one of the game's greatest big men in Kevin Garnett, and the presence of Bass will take pressure off Sullinger's ailing back.
As for what he can do for Boston, Sullinger is an old-school power forward who makes up for his lack of athleticism with a high basketball IQ and endless hustle. He's listed at 6'9 but he has a 7'1 wingspan and a knack for being in the right position to pull down rebounds.
Sullinger reminds me of Kevin Love when Love came out of UCLA. Neither have great leaping ability, but they are both scholars of the game that know how to be in the right position when the ball is in the air.
The former Buckeye doesn't offer much defensively, but he gives the Celtics another offensive presence in the paint who can throw his big body into defenders and wear opposing bigs down.
With new motivation and a great core and coaching staff around him, Sullinger has everything he needs to succeed. If his back holds up, he's going to make teams pay for passing on him.