BOSTON -- Paul Pierce didn't hesitate on his answer.When asked if he thought Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger should be named to the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend in February, the team captain hardly took any time to respond."Oh yeah," he said. "I think that's like a no brainer."Formerly referred to as the Rookie-Sophomore Game, the event will feature two teams made up of both first and second-year players. Sullinger has made a strong case to be included on the roster.He ranks fourth among all rookies in rebounding with 5.9 boards per game, behind only New Orleans Hornets Anthony Davis (7.8), Detroit Pistons Andre Drummond (7.3), and Charlotte Bobcats Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (6.5). In spite of averaging less than 20 minutes per game, Sullinger has grabbed 217 rebounds, trailing only Drummond and Kidd-Gilchrist. When it comes to offensive rebounds -- a coveted skill among bigs -- Sullinger is also third with 77.The 20 year old has emerged on a team full of veterans. Unlike other rookies who were immediately given a significant role when they were drafted, Sullinger has had to earn his minutes by hustling on each possession. His contributions have helped translate into victories, matching the high quality with quantity on the box score.Sullinger is averaging 9.8 points and 9.3 rebounds during the Celtics current six-game winning streak, including back-to-back double-doubles in which he posted a total of 26 points and 25 rebounds against the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets.You look at the rookie class, I really cant even name five quality rookies thats really playing well and playing significantly for their ball club, said Pierce. I definitely think he should be there.
Steve Bulpett believes Danny Ainge needs to have a great draft, and sign great free agents this offseason in order for the Celtics to compete for a championship next year after making no trades.
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