The Boston Celtics have famously gotten worse at rebounding over the years and today, they rank second to dead last in the league in overall rebound rate. The ability to rebound often fades with age, as players slowly lose their hops and speed.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, many of their younger players aren't especially adept rebounders. Brandon Bass is a floor spacer, not carom-nabber. Jeff Green has yet to display an above-average NBA skill, and rebounding is among the worst facets of his game.
Rajon Rondo is a helpful rebounder, but one can only do so much from the point guard position. Kevin Garnett used to be one of the best boardsmiths in basketball, but that was a long time ago.
So the Celtics are in a position where, if the boards are going to come, it's via trade or through young Jared Sullinger. The undersized rookie was drafted for his rebounding ability and he's provided just that.
Sullinger is rebounding nearly 19 percent of all misses. He also happens to be doing it with such style as to inspire an actual rebounding YouTube mixtape:
Brandon Bass' poor early season play has opened up some minutes for Sully. Another player, one who isn't involved in the rebounding game much, might provide even more minutes for Jared.
Avery Bradley just returned to the Boston Celtics lineup and instantly gave their defense a boost. Boston has traditionally been as good at defense as they were bad at rebounding, but the D suffered for Bradley's injury-caused absence.
Jared Sullinger is far from a help on defense, so Doc Rviers may have been weary of playing his rookie. If Bradley can help ramp up the team's D, Rivers could feel increasingly comfortable including Sully.
Is Jared Sullinger the answer to Boston's rebounding woes? Yes, indeed he is. But such help can only come along with Avery Bradley making Sullinger's presence affordable.