With the new season fast approaching the team at NBA Nation Australia threw some ideas onto the table for new features. We were looking for ideas that were slightly different, and in particular some that would be weekly rollover pieces.
We came up with the idea of each of us on the team to pick a rookie and to stick with said player for the full year. With each piece on our respective rookies we will be focusing on the past week, on how our rookie has played, his progressions, the areas of his game needing improvement, and also their influence within the league.
Also, moving aside from all the serious talk of stats and improving, we will be looking at our rookies social media influence. We wil be posting some of their better/funnier tweets from the week, quotes from interviews, and maybe their Instagram shots of their favourite breakfasts.
For our opening rookie feature, Nick How will be opening up with Boston Celtics’ Jared Sullinger.
It must be very daunting for the new guys just coming into the league…
Imagine their situation. They’ve just come out of college where they were probably top of their game, knew most of the playbook inside out, were the talk of the country as being one of the best in their position, to generally feeling pretty comfortable. Thrust that into Draft night, and things slightly change. They are picked by an NBA franchise, where they are expected to take their time into progressing into a spot (and in some case expected to perform straight away), walking into opening day of camp with all eyes on them, including older seasoned veterans who may or may not be slightly put out by the new kid on the block. The NBA is now a global game, and a rookie would feel he was under a lot more scrutiny then his life at college where he battled so hard to get to the spot we’re currently talking about.
My rookie Jared Sullinger seems to have taken to his early life in the NBA just fine. It could have been so much different for him. Originally labelled as one of the better players in his draft class, teams shied away after fearing problems with his back (bulging disc). After being picked at 21st by the Boston Celtics, it seemed the C’s may have picked themselves up an absolute steal. The Celtics team doctors quickly shook away allegations about his bad back, and said it wouldn’t be a problem at all for him. It definitely began looking like a steal for the Celtics now.
Jared impressed in the Summer leagues averaging 11.2 ppg, & 8.6 rpg in Las Vegas, and an even better 13.8 ppg & 8.3 rpg in Orlando. Despite those good numbers, critics and journalists also saw that there would be a lot of work needed to be done Defensively for Jared before the start of the regular season.
Jared had a great media day, openly talking with journalists and posing for his first photos in the Celtics full uniform.
Here is Jared’s first interview on media day….
Almost straight from Media day and opening day of training camp the Celtics packed up and left for Europe to play a string of Pre-Season games against some of the best talent in the Euro leagues. Istanbul, Turkey was the first stop.
Various Celtics players tweeted this photo of them at the airport on their way to boarding their first flight..
Just before the Celtics played their opening game against their Turkish opponents Fenerbahce, Jared tweeted this..
Great photo of Jared with the full roster outside of the team hotel.
Fenerbache Game: What a first impression Jared made in his first full Boston appearance. Coming up big as part of the Celtics second unit, Jared didn’t show any signs of immaturity of nerves at all. Despite the Celtics 97-91 loss Sullinger looked the goods while pulling down huge rebounds and was in particular effective on the offensive end. The rookie also looks very comfortable with his back to basket and working in at the post.
Following the game Doc Rivers had nothing but praise for the rookies first game for the Celtics.
“That’s a great example, when you go into games, from our standpoint, we want to look at different guys, and we got a great look at him,” head coach Doc Rivers said of Sullinger afterward. “He was terrific. The point I made before the game, it was his first time playing minutes with the starters, and I thought he was good with the starters and I thought he was good with the bench, so that’s a good sign. I thought he played with a great calm. For a rookie, he’s never in a hurry, that was good.”
Also, Kevin Garnett & captain Paul Pierce had kind words to say about Sullinger.
“His IQ is very high,” Kevin Garnett said of the rookie power forward. “I watched him a couple of times while he was (at Ohio State), and we saw a little of what he can do skill-wise. When you play with him you can actually see the IQ.” Paul Pierce landed on the same spot. “I think he has a great basketball IQ,” he said. Neither player was asked about Sullinger’s basketball intelligence. No leading questions here.
Emporio Armani Game:
Another successful night this time in Milan as Jared continued where left off from the game in Istanbul against Fenerbache. Again great on the boards, this time just as good on the defensive end as he is usually on the offensive boards. Also, Sullinger shot 100% from the line as well as picking a nice block. Celtics fans and critics alike are impressed with the maturity of Sullinger in the 2 European tour games, and how well he seemed to work with 1st unit as well as the 2nd unit which he will work with primarily.
Tweets Of The Week:
Jared Sullinger’s Video Blog:
Jared Sullinger was invited by the Boston Celtics to record his rookie season as a video blog for fans. Below are the videos Jared has made since the Celtics started training camp all the way up to while they were away in Turkey & Milan.
I hope you have enjoyed the first rookie watch on the Celtics forward Jared Sullinger,