Jared Sullinger's Emergence Key to Making Boston Celtics Rebuild Work
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It hasn’t taken Jared Sulinger long to create serious expectations for his 2014-15 campaign.

The 22-year-old Ohio State product scored 23 points in 23 minutes in the Boston Celtics‘ second preseason outing, a 106-86 victory over the New York Knicks. With a 9-of-12 night from the field, Sullinger showed flashes of the kind of play that could—to at least some degree—salvage a season otherwise destined for the bottom of the standings.

Coming off a respectable sophomore year in which he averaged 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game, Sullinger vindicated general manager Danny Ainge‘s decision to take a chance with the 21st pick in the 2012 draft.

Despite a strong collegiate career, Sullinger‘s draft stock plummeted due to concerns about potentially chronic problems with his back. So far, Ainge‘s gamble has paid off.

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And its biggest dividends may be yet to come.

This was supposed to be a productive summer from the outset for Sullinger.

As The Boston Globe‘s Gary Washburn noted in July, “This is Jared Sullinger‘s first summer as an NBA player in which he is not dealing with back issues, and he plans to capitalize on being healthy by making himself a more productive player.”

“It’s very exciting because I get to develop and find out who I can be,” Sullinger told reporters back in April. “We’ll see. Hopefully, I’ll have some hobbies—working out and conditioning—I can carry over for the next four months.”

The plan was to—among other things—craft an entirely new physique.

In June, Sulinger told media, “My main weight is 260 by training camp. I’m in the 280s range right now.”

“I think conditioning was a big factor,” he explained in July. “Late in the game, I’d get tired and …read more