Sullinger continues to impress with first double-double

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Sullinger continues to impress with first double-double

BOSTON -- Jared Sullinger knew his role from being the centerpiece of the Ohio State University basketball team would change once he entered the NBA.

From the moment the Boston Celtics drafted him with the 21st pick this summer, he emphasized the importance of rebounding and chipping in wherever the team needed help. Ten games into his first season, he is practicing what he preached.

On Saturday, the rookie recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench during the Celtics 107-89 win over the Toronto Raptors. Rebounding came first, scoring was secondary. He grabbed three boards in his first three minutes on the court

"Sully does small things like rebound the ball, the way he gets guys open," said Kevin Garnett. "Small things that you're probably looking for stat-wise, when you're playing with him and you're his teammate, his dives, his rolls, getting JT (Jason Terry) open looks, little small things that aren't going to show up on your yellow pad, the small things which he does makes us better. In order for us to be better and in this process in getting better, everybody has to do those things.

"So you know what? On your yellow pad he's not that big of a deal, tonight obviously for your yellow pad he did a great job, but overall Sully's doing small things along with Chris (Wilcox) and all the other guys that are making us come out of this funk that we were in."

Sullinger played over 26 minutes on Saturday, an increase of from the eight he played against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. Head coach Doc Rivers had outlined the consequences of giving up offensive rebounds and Sullinger had to oblige. Rivers sensed unhappiness from the 20-year-old forward, but appreciated that he put it out of his mind two days later.

"He wasn't happy about not playing against Brooklyn," said Rivers. "And I just told all the guys, 'Guys got offensive rebounds on you, you're coming out.' And he was the first. I thought he really did a great job overall (against the Raptors). They got a couple but I thought he was aggressive. He just knows how to play. He's a calming effect at times when you put him in, and I don't think I've ever said that about a rookie. It's nice to have that."

Said Sullinger, "I just had to channel my energy towards the next game, understand that even though I don't play a lot, there's still a lot of things I can do to help the basketball team. I wasn't upset that I didn't play a lot, I was just upset that we lost. That's my main priority, to win."

Sullinger's first double-double is a glimpse into his potential. Since coming into the league, he has working on improving his consistency, shooting abilities, lateral quickness, and conditioning. He has always understood his role on the veteran team, and he is making an impact by embracing it.

"What I came here to do is just to rebound," he said. "Then everything else just falls into place."

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast is worth a listen, as it features plenty of talk about what the Celtics may or may not due ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Lowe brought up the possibility of the Celtics top-1 or top-2-protecting Brooklyn’s first-round pick and including it in a deal for Butler. He surmises that the inclusion of the Brooklyn pick -- protected or not -- might not come until the final minutes. 

“Look, if Butler gets traded or if Paul George gets traded, that’s when it’s going to happen,” Marc Stein responded. “It’s going to happen in the last five to 10 minutes, so Boston has to make a decision, and let's see if they’re doing the math that they’ve had these assets for a while and it is time to do something bold and the time is now. Really, I think Boston will do it. The question is what will Chicago or Indiana do? And those are two hard reads.” 

Stein spoke to the Celtics’ lack of activity at certain points, but he said that if the C’s do fail to come away with a star player Thursday, it won’t be for lack of aggressiveness. 

MORE TRADE TALK

“I think the Celtics are taking criticism for waiting, and they’ve had all these assets they haven’t moved yet, but I think the record shows that Danny Ainge in general, in total, is very aggressive, not afraid to roll the dice, not afraid to make the aggressive move,” Stein said. “So I have less doubt about Boston saying, ‘Let’s just do it.’ I have far more questions about what Chicago and/or Indiana would do.” 

Lowe said that he imagines the Bulls would “think about” trading the C's Butler if Boston threw in the Nets’ pick unprotected, but added that Chicago would demand to also take two players out of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. 

“I think that will be the offer and they’ll get there and Chicago will either have a moment where they say, ‘We walk away or we’ll do it.’ And Boston’s not going to throw in the other Nets pick,” Lowe said. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Rating the aforementioned foursome in terms of trade value, Lowe said that Crowder is the best piece because of his “ridiculously good” contract, followed by Brown, Smart and Bradley. 

Lowe added that he considers Bradley one of the “sneaky interesting pieces at this trade deadline” because his contract is up after next season, which is the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract expires. Lowe says that given the uncertainty of his future in Boston, he wouldn’t be overly surprised if Bradley is moved at the deadline. 

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Will the Celtics part with the right to Brooklyn’s 2017 first-round pick in order to get a star before Thursday’s trade deadline? 

MORE TRADE TALK

Citing a pair of NBA executives, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote this week that Danny Ainge’s willingness to trade the pick should be in doubt.

Sola named Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Paul George as potential targets, adding that the C’s might include the latter.   

Wrote Isola: 

Two executives doubt that Ainge, who historically plays it close to the vest, would give up the Nets pick in a deal for Butler. However, Ainge might consider it in a trade for George, the Pacers-free agent-to-be who has expressed doubts over re-signing with the Pacers.

‘With Danny, no one ever knows what he might do,' said the executive. ‘He's one of the best. If he thinks he can make a run at the Cavs this season, considering all the injuries Cleveland has had, I can see him making a move.

‘Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper.’

This season, the 26-year-old George is averaging 22.3 points 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game.