Friday 19th January 2018,
The Hoop Doctors

Kevin Garnett Not Happy With Sullinger Snub

After learning that Celtic rookie Jared Sullinger wasn’t selected to participate in the NBA’s Rising Stars competition, Kevin Garnett was none to pleased.

“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.

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  • Mark D

    Playing behind Garnet as a way of developing Jared Sullinger is vastly over-rated. In the NBA, coaching, playing time, team offensive and defensive philosophy, and on-court sets are the keys to a player’s development. On the Celtics, with two aging Stars who should not longer be the first two options on offense, and with Rondo (when he comes back), and repartee developing between Rondo and Jeff Green, Sullinger is the fourth or fifth option at best. The Celtics are not a good fit for developing Sullinger’s talents.

    Garnett is right in one regard, Sullinger is better than most rookies and second-year players. However, but he plays on a team, where he seldom gets the run needed to
    demonstrate that he could be an emerging star. Sullinger would be much more developed had he come out after his freshman year and gone to a team where he could have started immediately and would be expected to be an impact player. For
    example, Sullinger is a much more talented player than Tristan Thompson. But, Thompson is much further ahead in his development. He is rapidly approach that
    of being a double-double player and a major piece (with Kyrie Irving) around
    which to build the Cavs into a championship-caliber team. With, Sullinger’s talent, he should be further ahead of Thompson and starting for the Celtics.