Generally when it comes to Celtic rookies, they don’t necessarily have that much of an impact right off the bat. Doc will usually bury them on the bench in favor of more experienced players. Even some of Danny’s best draft picks in his tenure as GM haven’t proved to be instant successes. It wasn’t until Rondo’s 2nd year where he made a huge impact directing the Cs to a title run in 08, Avery was a very forgettable face until last season and even Big Baby Davis took until his 2nd year to make a substantial contribution to the team. You, however, were the lone outlier in large set of data that suggested that Celtic rookies take a year or two to develop.
You instantly fit right in with a struggling team and fit a much desired need with your terrific rebounding ability and to be quite honest with you I didn’t think you would be that good when you were drafted. Granted I watched a grand total of 3 Ohio St. Games in your final season but everything about you screamed “Glen Davis 2.0″ to me. Almost every scouting report I read on you highlighted your inability to finish against length and athleticism so it didn’t help when I came across the glaring RED FLAG on your back issues.
You proved me wrong Sully. Every step of the way you proved me wrong and you proved that damn Red Flag wrong (sort of). You brought you’re lunch pail to every game, worked your ass off on defense, hustled for every board and won the hearts of the fans (not to mention your name is Sully, who doesn;t love the name Sully and in Boston no less!). You had the best Net Rating of any Celtic in the rotation(+3.7). Excluding Shavlik Randolph(SHAVY!) who only played 16 games, you also led the team in Rebound %(17.6 %). Your rebounding ability resembled that of another vertically challenged big man in Zach Randolph which is precisely the reason why I dubbed you “Mini Z-Bo” halfway through the season. Your low post game was very solid for a rookie of your stature and you even extended your jumpshot out to mid-range. Being able to position and outwork every single opponent you faced made Boston fall head over heels for your game.
Your season ending back surgery was no doubt a huge blow to the team. Boston lost it’s #1 rebounder, that coupled with the loss of Rondo really inhibited them from making any noise in the playoffs. I for one am relishing the opportunity to see you play and full season next year. Till then Sully, keep on rehabbing and rebounding big fella.