“Really? I’m actually shocked.”, Garnett responded upon first hearing the news. Frankly, he should be shocked.
“Sully”, as 2012’s 21st overall pick is fondly called, is having a solid first year for the Celtics. He’s putting up six points and six rebounds per contest, a line made more impressive by his rookie’s share of game time (20 minutes per game). At 49% from the field, Sully is knocking down nearly half of his six points per game.
The former Ohio State Buckeye was at one point touted as a potential lottery pick. In his freshman year playing Big Ten basketball, Sullinger won 1st Team All American honors while leading the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16. He used a rather stocky 6’9″, 270 lbs frame to bully his way into the paint. Utilizing superb footwork and a soft touch around the rim, Sully finished his freshman year with 17.2 ppg and 10.2 rpg.
As 2012’s NBA draft closed in, doubts encircled the young forward. The questions were most predominantly concerned with Sullinger’s back issues. There were also some scouts who, based on Sully’s talent and potential (or lack thereof), would be worth a first round pick.
Evidenced by very solid rookie numbers in rookie minutes, the young Celtic has displayed a direct translation of his All American qualities-footwork, touch around the basket, strength-on the NBA stage.
With all of that being said, it becomes easier to understand Garnett’s gripe.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “This league has, I guess, an agenda in what they want. And Jared’s not in that agenda. I hope it creates a monster within him. I hope it does everything [to] encourage him.”
The idea of the NBA having some sort of agenda isn’t quite outlandish. What makes it less likely is that the league would want to play that out via the Rising Stars game. Besides, snubs happen. This is the same All Star weekend that’s excluding a point guard who happens to be putting up a truly bonkers stat line.
Personally, I think Sully having dealt so well with the tutelage of Garnett (aka Big Ol’ Meanie), earned him a spot. But, that’s just me.
H/T to WEEI’s Green Street blog
Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Mohamed is also an editor at Hoops Nation and contributes to Les Snobs. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men, and blues music. Nearly all stats are credited to Hoopdata or Basketball-Reference.
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim.