NEWPORT, R.I. — Although Jared Sullinger is entering his second NBA season, he will still get treated like a rookie by the veterans.
Season-ending back surgery last season limited Sullinger to just 45 games, which is why veterans like Courtney Lee are still holding him responsible to the bag-carrying, snack-grabbing duties most NBA rookies endure annually.
"I gotta play 82," Sullinger said. "Then I can get out of that."
If he plays in every game to start the season, Sullinger will be upgraded from "rookie status" after the C's play at Golden State on Jan. 10.
Because he's in that sort-of, kind-of, but not really a rookie place, Sullinger has been charged with coordinating the rookies on various tasks such as singing "Happy Birthday" to Lee on Thursday.
Thursday was indeed a good day for Sullinger and the rookies.
But rookies are going to do what rookies do, which means at some point they will get something wrong or not do as they're told.
Who gets the blame then, Sullinger or the rookies?
"We're going to yell at him [Sullinger], and he's going to yell at them," Lee said. "Or we're just going to yell at all of them."
Coming off a 25-win season Boston seemed primed for yet another year in a lottery. But this Boston Celtics team defied the odds and expectations.