While we spent last week toiling away at the office, Boston Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger spent it proving that he was the steal of the 2012 NBA draft by playing some excellent basketball in the Las Vegas Summer League. Despite physical limitations compared to some of his competitors, he has managed to put up solid numbers.
While his shooting percentages haven't always been stellar, scoring 13.8 points per game and averaging 8.3 rebounds shows great promise for the future.
The main reason Sullinger fell down draft boards was concerns over his back. So far in the summer, though, Sullinger has looked completely healthy.
His moves in the low post have been difficult for defenders to handle. He is by far the most developed offensive rookie in the league (including Anthony Davis). This level of skill will always allow Sullinger to be productive as a pro, especially considering how rare it is for any big man to have a full arsenal of moves nowadays, much less a rookie.
Sullinger's ceiling may be limited by his health concerns and his physical stature, but what we saw in the Summer League is an indication of what the Celtics can expect this year.
He will be able to score no matter what. He knows what to do when he gets the ball and having a point guard like Rajon Rondo to get him the ball will only make things better.
He will also rebound. He doesn't grab boards because of superior athleticism, he does it because his technique is nearly flawless.
That's the story with Sullinger. He's a well-developed and technically sound player who will always be able to overcome more athletic players because of his skill.
I doubt Sullinger plays enough minutes to average 13.8 points and 8.3 rebounds, but when you adjust for minutes, that's probably the level of production the Celtics can expect from him. No matter what happens, he will be a productive player.
He's proven both at the college and now pro level that he is a mature player and person who will fit right in with Boston's culture. He'll never complain about minutes and will do exactly what the team needs from him. He's the consummate role player.
He may never be a star, but the Celtics will always be able to count on him to give them something. With the high bust rate of first-round picks nowadays, that's a very valuable commodity.
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