The Boston Celtics selected the 6’9”, 260-pound Columbus native with the 21st overall pick. GM Danny Ainge and head coach Doc Rivers were elated and felt they made a “steal” with this choice. After all, NBA scouts and talent evaluators had pegged Sullinger in the top five slots should he have jumped to the pros after his historic freshman year at OSU.
The 21-year-old big (wide) man played in all 45 Celtic contests in the 2012-2013 season before his chronic back problems forced him to the injured list. He averaged 6 ppg and 5.9 rpg in 19.8 mpg while shooting 49.5% from the field and 75% from the stripe.
Soon after, Sullinger underwent successful lumbar disk surgery. The Celtics knew going into the draft that he would eventually need this procedure. The reason his stock dipped prior to the 2012 Draft was due to teams’ concerns regarding his back. Fortunately after the procedure surgeons and doctors concluded that his long-time, ailing back would now be fixed permanently.
So far Sullinger has played in 18 of the Green’s 20 games. In 25.6 mpg, he is averaging 13.2 ppg (second on the team), 7.4 rpg (leads the team) and 1.4 apg. In addition, for the quants and stat-heads out there, the gregarious and relentless Sullinger leads the team with a PER of 18.6. He has posted season highs of 26 points, 17 boards and 4 dimes. Also #7 has yet to foul out of a game, which is impressive for a bulky banger.
In only his second pro season, Sullinger has become invaluable as the Celtics try to rebuild after the departures of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers. I see Sullinger as a double-double machine in the near future. Add this high IQ workhorse to your fantasy roster before his price tag shoots through the roof!