Last season it felt as if Jared Sullinger was standing in the same spot he was a year before, and the Boston Celtics are expecting to see some improvement from their power forward as he heads into his fourth NBA season and the final on his rookie deal.
Sullinger averaged 13.3 points and 7.6 rebounds in 27 minutes a night, missing 24 games, as both his per minute and per possession numbers didn’t take a dive or improve, at least not in a noteworthy way. For Celtics fans and the front office itself, constantly hearing about how the next season is going to be his breakout year, it’s time to see him take his game to the next level.
The frontcourt is more stacked than before, with David Lee and Amir Johnson joining the team, which means a lot more battle for minutes at power forward, although Sullinger played plenty of center last season as well.
The bottom line is that there are less minutes to spread around, with Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk also expecting to get playing time, not to mention those moments when the Celtics try to play some small ball, which it seems is part of the plan for each and every one of the teams next season, at least in certain situations.
Sullinger did make a nice jump from his rookie year to the second season, but the Celtics, no longer a team waiting for the right opportunity but a playoff participant last season and with higher expectations for the upcoming one, also have to think about the future, and they need to see Sullinger making a step or two forward before committing a large pile of money to his next contract once he becomes a restricted free agent.