Doc on Sullinger's All-Star snub: 'He'll make it eventually'

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Doc on Sullinger's All-Star snub: 'He'll make it eventually'

BOSTON Kevin Garnett, who was voted in as an All-Star starter, will be the lone representative for the Boston Celtics during All-Star weekend with Jared Sullinger not being named to the 18-player roster (nine rookies, nine second-year player) for the Rising Stars challenge.
"He'll make it eventually," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Maybe not that team, but he'll be in the league a long time and I think he'll be happier with that in the long run."
The rookies chosen to the team were comprised of three big men -- New Orleans' Anthony Davis, Detroit's Andre Drummond and Ceveland's Tyler Zeller.
Sullinger said in an earlier interview that he wasn't giving too much thought to whether he made the team or not.
"That stuff is nice and everything, but I want to just keep getting better and help this team win games," he told CSNNE.com.
Indeed, Sullinger's growth as a player has been a factor in him evolving from a player off the bench into the team's starting power forward.
"He has improved as a player, but I already thought he was good when he came in," Rivers said. "I would love to say it was us, but it was him. He does all the work, all the reps and he had most of that before he got here.
"It took him some time to get comfortable with what we're doing and with himself in the league," Rivers added. "That's the biggest thing. But he's been terrific for us."
Sullinger's knack for offensive rebounding has been one of strengths thus far, along with his scoring touch around the basket.
However, Rivers also likes the fact that Sullinger is a good passer, something he recognized when Sullinger was in high school playing in AAU tournaments against Rivers' son, Austin, who plays for the New Orleans Hornets.
"Probably the college coaches who played against him realized he was a good passer," Rivers said. "But the NBA probably didn't know that. He's been trapped his entire life. He's been bigger than everybody since high school, so I've seen him trapped and figure it out and make passes through it."
But like most rookies -- especially big men -- Sullinger's defense has been a work in progress.
"He does a good job of fouling," quipped Rivers who then added, "He's been terrific. He's very, very smart and I think he learns each guy each night each time he plays someone different. He's been fooled a lot and the next time we play that same team, he's not. That tells you he's learning."

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Report: Jahlil Okafor trade still in 'consideration' for Celtics

Report: Jahlil Okafor trade still in 'consideration' for Celtics

Jahlil Okafor isn't out of the picture for the Boston Celtics.

As the days get closer to the NBA trade deadline, the Celtics are mulling a number of trade options. And the Philadelphia 76ers aren't afraid to shop Okafor, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

"Okafor is kind of still there," Stein said on ESPN's "Mike and Mike". "He's been so out there that you tend to think Philadelphia will find something in the next three days where they move him. I've heard that Boston has still given that some consideration. Chicago's another team that's been said to have shown some Okafor interest."

In his second season in Philadelphia, Okafor has seen a dip in his production after an impressive rookie season. His minutes have dropped from 30 to 23 per game, which explains his points falling from 17.5 to 11.4 per game and his rebounds falling from seven to 4.8 per game. He's shooting roughly the same from the field, however, and has a 51.1 field goal percentage during the 2016-17 season.

Okafor's season has taken a strange turn in recent weeks. The 6-foot-11 center did not travel with the team to face the Charlotte Bobcats on Feb. 13 amid trade interest. But Okafor then played with Philadelphia against the Boston Celtics in the ensuing game on Feb. 15.

"You can rest assured Philly's going to spend the next three-plus days trying to find a trade home for Jahlil Okafor because once the prospect of a trade has gone that far it's kind of hard to pretend it didn't happen," Stein said. "But at this point, as we stand, Philadelphia doesn't have an Okafor deal. And obviously another (option in) New Orleans, now that's not going to happen."