This quite significant piece of news was lost in all of the Rond hooplah and rightfully so. After all, Sullinger is just a rookie–as impactful as be may be. But he’s finally earned a starting spot over Brandon Bass. This is something that a lot of Celtics’ fans were clamoring for.
His production this season has shown that he should probably have started over Bass a long time ago. The Celtics are much better with Sullinger on the floor than with him being off of it–even with his sturggles on the defensive end of things.
Brandon Bass has a -10 net rating as opposed to Jared Sullinger’s team leading +5.7 rating according to 82games.com. With Rondo being out, the Celtics don’t have as good of a mastery at the pick and pop as they would with Bass in. That was really the only thing that Bass provided the Celtics with this season and that’s been taken away. Jared Sullinger is going to bring a lot more to the table, even if he can’t hit from 16 feet out consistently.
Jared Sullinger makes the Celtics’ offense 4.6 points per possession better with him on the floor as opposed to Bass, who actually makes the offense 2.2 points worse. The Celtics defense is exactly 2.2 points better with Jared Sullinger on the floor–though, it still allows 103.2 points per 100 possessions.
The reason why the offense is better is because of all of the extra chances that he creates with his rebounding. The Celtics grab 28.8% of the offensive rebounds available with Sullinger on the court as opposed to just 20.5% when he’s off the floor. In fact, the Celtics total rebounding goes up a whole 5% when Sullinger is on the floor. That’s the element that the Celtics have been lacking throughout the Kevin Garnett era. Sullinger is the perfect compliment for him.
This is a great move for Sullinger and the Celtics for a plethora of reasons. Not only does it make the team better, but it also lets you know what you have in one of your young pieces if you’re ready to move on from the Kevin Garnett era of Celtics’ basketball. There’s really no reason for him to not start at this point. So good for Sully. We’ll finally get to see what the kid has in the tank.