When the Boston Celtics drafted Jared Sullinger 21st in June’s NBA draft, they knew they had a special player on their hands. Come midseason and they’ll also most likely have their new starting power forward.
The former Ohio State Buckeye has already been making waves inside the locker room.
Most noticeably, he’s earned the respect and admiration of veteran team leader Kevin Garnett.
“Jared understands what we’ve doing,” Garnett told reporters. “He’s a no-nonsense guy—not that I’m shooting anything at the other guys—but the young fella comes in, does his job and does what you tell him. He’s a great rebounder, his IQ is unbelievable, he can pass the ball and he reminds me a lot of [Kendrick Perkins]. Obviously, he’s not the defensive player that Perk was, but as far as IQ, moving the ball and being unselfish, he’s a great teammate.”
Being compared to Perkins—who contributed majorly to the team’s 2008 title run—is no small honor inside the Celtics’ locker room.
The team has been unsuccessful at finding someone to fill that role ever since Perkins was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011.
That is, until now.
Here are three reasons why Sullinger will play his way into the Celtics’ starting lineup.