BOSTON - It’s easy to look at the Celtics - Hawks series and say that Jared Sullinger has no place on the Boston Celtics.
But that would mean ignoring an entire regular season in which Sullinger put together perhaps the best season of his career.
The C’s center averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds, and believe it or not was one of the more consistent and dependable players on the team, especially when it came to big men.
Having thought to be out of the rotation completely to begin the year, Sullinger ended up starting 73 of the 81 games he played, both career highs.
There were some weight issues, and that just might be the case for Sullinger for the rest of his career as he’s just a guy with a big frame. It may have caught up to him a bit towards the end of the season and into the playoffs, but more than anything else the Hawks just proved to be a bad matchup for him.
If Boston could have advanced to play the Cavs, history proves that Sullinger would have been an integral part in taking Kevin Love out of the game.
But it didn’t end that way for the Celtics, who were eliminated in six games. Sullinger was ineffective through those six games, and replaced by Jonas Jerebko as the C’s went small a few games into the series. Sullinger averaged just 13.5 minutes, 5.2 points, and 4.5 rebounds in the postseason.
Was it his last with the Celtics? Sullinger is a restricted free agent this summer, but it remains to be seen how interested the Celtics are in having him back. He made it c
“You don’t know what’s gonna happen so I really can’t speak upon the future, but if I leave it’s gonna be tough walking away from the great guys we have in this locker room,” Sullinger said Thursday after his team was eliminated. “I’m gonna take a couple of days just to reflect on this season and how far we came as a unit and just let everything take care of itself.”
Sullinger made it clear, much like his fellow free-agent teammate Evan Turner, that he’d like to be back with the Celtics.
“For sure,” Sullinger said. “When you spend four seasons in the same area and then play for the greatest organization of all time, you see the likes of Bill Russell sitting courtside, Kevin McHale, Bill Walton and all these people that cheer, it’s very hard to walk away from this situation.”
At just 24 years old, Sullinger has a lot of NBA ahead of him provided he can stay ahead of the curve. He knows he still has work to do.
“It was OK. I’ve got to do a lot of things better, but it was OK,” Sullinger said of his season. “My window is getting smaller and smaller of constantly talking about I need to improve, I need to improve.”