Jared Sullinger has been a Celtic for exactly two weeks and he’s played in four summer league games. It was our first chance to look at Sullinger as a pro and evaluate him against other pro (or borderline pro) talent. And what we’ve seen is impressive.
He can play with his back to the basket pretty well. He attacks the glass. He gets to the line. He can hit mid-range jumpers. It’s giving us reason to be optimistic that Danny Ainge lucked out when he dropped to 21. And if you think this just Boston fans being overly optimistic about a productive summer league debut, check out what this scout who’s been watching him this week said:
“Coming out of college, I heard a lot of people compare him to (Cavs forward) Samardo Samuels,” said one scout. “That’s ridiculous. Samuels is just fine, but the only thing they have in common is their wide frames. Sullinger is so much more skilled it’s not funny. He understands the game and is a tireless worker. If he stays healthy, a lot of teams will regret not (drafting) him sooner.”
The scout went on to predict Sullinger would be an immediate starter for a lot of teams. “In some situations,” the scout said, “he’d be a go-to guy.”
If that doesn’t make you smile, then I don’t know what will.
I’m not ready to make that leap just yet, but I’m definitely very encouraged by what I’ve seen so far. It’ll be very interesting to see him in person and get a better feel for how he works out there. He’ll also be facing some tougher competition in Las Vegas, and the schedule seems to be catching up to him a bit. But Danny Ainge may just have gotten two guys who could contribute to the team this year in Sullinger and Kris Joseph.