With the Celtics’ season revolving around the central thought of winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy, drafting a player to help immediately was essential. So when the Celtics selected Jared Sullinger in the past NBA draft, many fans were delighted with the thought of another player who could be relied upon to contribute.
Sullinger was said to be ready for the professional game. How ready exactly? Well, he may need to be ready to start.
Brandon Bass has been suffering from knee ailments dating back to last season and aggravated his knee in a preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets. Although he did eventually return to finish the preseason finale, he did sit out for a game in New York.
Bass’ injury should not cause too much panic though. The Celtics have been extremely cautious with all injuries in order to keep players fresh and healthy heading into the regular season.
Bass figures to play a prominent role in Boston’s championship chances. He’s coming off a career year with averages of 12.5 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game. Both were a career high. Another year in the system should continue to benefit his game.
Don’t forget that Bass was also the one to carry the Celtics for three quarters in the Game 7 loss to Miami last playoffs. While Bass’ injury is not enough to bring concern now, an 82-game season is grueling on the body.
This is where the rookie comes into play. Sullinger has proven successful when inserted into the starting lineup during the preseason. He started five games and posted 9.2 ppg and 7 rpg. That is certainty adequate enough for a rookie considered the fifth option in the lineup.
The Ohio State product will only grow his game as the season progresses, and Sullinger’s production affords Boston the opportunity to lighten Bass’ workload.
Sullinger would increase the Celtics’ presence on the boards, something that even with Bass starting last year, suffered drastically. He also provides another scorer in the paint. His passing ability from the post has complimented Kevin Garnett well and the duo would arguably create one of the most skilled frontcourts in the league.
Bass’ game strongly relies on Rajon Rondo’s playmaking to be effective. His first, second, and third instinct is to shoot when he receives the ball. His offense would be better served coming off the bench to spark the second unit.
Despite who starts, both players will likely see similar minutes as the Celtics plan to take advantage of their increased depth. The season is only five days away and Doc Rivers claims to know his starting lineup, but has yet to release his plans to the media.
Regardless of who gets the starting nod, it is a good problem to have too much talent, and one that any NBA coach would welcome with open arms.