Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“Honestly I’m shocked with the way I’m playing now coming off of surgery, to be able to do the things I’m doing. I feel pretty good about it myself, as far as the movements and stuff.”
[...] “For me at least,” Sullinger said. “Especially to be able to move my feet quicker. There’s a lot of things that back surgery really helped me out with. I’m just slowly progressing every day.”
“Some of the spin moves I did on Monday night – if this is last year, I wouldn’t come close to successfully pulling that move off,” he said.
[...]“As long as I stick with the right treatment and continue to push and get better, I think I’ll be all right,” Sullinger said.”
Sullinger is sort of like a refurbished iPad you buy on Amazon for half the price of a new one.
Honestly, when you see the word “refurbished”… you pass on it, right? You don’t mind used, but once something was wrong with it, you don’t trust that it’s really been fixed.
That, in a way, is Sullinger… who was passed on because no one wanted to take a chance on getting a piece of NBA machinery that needed fixing. Now he’s in Boston, and he’s fixed, and he’s working pretty well.
He’s missed two games for the Celtics so far this season. He served his suspension in the opener and the team looked terrible. To be fair, they probably were going to look terrible anyway, but still, that was the first of two games without Sullinger where they have. They looked terrible against Charlotte too, and it’s obvious that they need him.
Sullinger doesn’t have one particular skill that sets him apart from the rest of the NBA. He’s a good post player, but he’s not one of the league’s best at it. He’s a good shooter, a good passer, a good rebounder, a good defender… but he’ll never really come up in the conversation of anyone’s top 5, or even top 10, in any of those categories.
But it’s the combination of things that he does that make him so important. He CAN play pick-and-pop, so he has to be guarded. He CAN hurt you in the post, so you have to be prepared to send a second guy. He CAN grab an offensive rebound, so teams have to pay added attention to him when a shot goes up. All that opens things up for his teammates, and because Sullinger is a good passer and a smart player, he often makes the right decisions to take advantage of these situations.
The refurbished Sullinger is very likely going to get even better as time moves on, because he’s still getting back into shape, and he’s still learning things about the NBA game. And he still has to yet to play with Rajon Rondo since both have had their respective surgeries.
Boston is gushing about Sullinger lately (well, those of us who are paying attention to the Celtics are, anyway). I firmly believe that he’s the type of hard-nosed, blue-collar, bust-his-ass-every-damn-play kind of player that will ultimately become a fan-favorite here.
Related links: ESPN Boston: Celtics Soph Sully’s stock is rising
Page 2: C’s aren’t hearing any tank talk
Stevens said he has had no trouble tuning out the talk of tanking the season, saying dismissively, ‘‘I don’t care about that.’’ But Sullinger said that if it helps motivate the team, that’s even better.
‘‘Oh, we definitely wanted to shut you guys up. Definitely,’’ he told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Wednesday. ‘‘With all the things we heard
Stevens would prefer that they focus on this year.
‘‘You can use it as motivation,’’ he said, ‘‘but it has nothing to do with winning a 48-minute game.’’
Two of the teams that were supposedly tanking, Philadelphia and Phoenix, currently have winning records (and Philly leads the Atlantic). The Celtics were at .500 before the Charlotte game, and at the time, co-leaders in that division.
We get that executives have to trade away stars, acquire “assets” (which is what we call human beings in this business when we want to know they should probably leave their suitcases packed during the season), and if they lose, so be it. But this team isn’t trying to go out there and lose games. They’re fighting.
I know I’ve said it before, but these are all professionals who depend on their ability to play this game to make as much money as possible in, if their lucky, 15 years to sustain their livelihoods for the rest of their lives. You retire at 65 with a 401k, these guys retire at 35 with whatever is in their bank account.
You’ve seen the guys branded as slackers. They don’t last very long. These guys are trying to win games. If Danny Ainge values this draft so highly, he might make a move to ensure something he might feel is slipping away… that’s something we’ll have to wait for… but I’m impressed with the effort these guys have given most of the time this season.
The rest of the links: