Should the Celtics Shoot for a Jared Sullinger Reunion?
The regular season is nearing its end; and with less than a month before the playoffs begin, it’s now or never for the Celtics to decide whether or not they wish to make any last-minute changes. Andrew Bogut would have a been solid addition, while Larry Sanders could have been an X-Factor. But with those players off the market (Bogut: Injury, Sanders: Cleveland), the Celtics are left with two realistic options: Jared Sullinger and Omri Casspi.
While Casspi would effectively spread the floor, given his ability to shoot the three (36.9%), he would offer Boston neither size, nor rebounding, which are some of the team’s most glaring needs. Additionally, the Celtics may very well be set at the Small Forward position, what with Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown’s solid play. Moreover, if the Celtics hope to grab the first seed or at the very least, retain the second seed, it is extremely important to maintain the level of camaraderie that the current roster has. Adding a new face such as Casspi this far along in the season could very well spell disaster for team chemistry. Such a scenario is something that the Celtics cannot afford to have play out.
With Jared Sullinger, on the other hand, you know exactly what you’re getting. While he won’t spread the floor to the extent that Omri Casspi will, opposing teams certainly cannot leave Sullinger open from long-range. Moreover, boasting a 260 lb., 6’9” frame, Jared Sullinger would certainly give the Celtics some more size up front. This fact alone could serve as a huge asset, should the Celtics make it to the Eastern Conference Finals; particularly when it comes to countering the rebounding ability of a guy like Tristan Thompson. Additionally, although his numbers are down this season, Sullinger did average 10.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists over 24.5 minutes per game as a Boston Celtic. Furthermore, Sullinger is familiar with Brad Steven’s system, having played most of his career in Boston.
Of course, to make room for Sullinger, the Celtics would need to move on from James Young, Jordan Mickey, or Demetrius Jackson. That might not be such a bad thing; Young in particular, has failed to carve out a regular role for himself in his three years with the team (and not for lack of opportunity). And Jordan Mickey has, so far, appeared to have followed in Young’s footsteps, also making him expendable. If the Celtics are looking to develop young, “big” talents, Guerschon Yabusele, Abdel Nader, and Ante Zizic appear to be far more impressive prospects in the long-run.
While Jared Sullinger would likely be an immediate upgrade from a statistical standpoint, it is also important to recognize that the Celtics are in second place today for a reason. Maybe Young and Mickey are not contributing in-game; but it’s hard to say how important these two players are to the Celtics’ success from the outside looking in. After all, Brad Steven’s system is predicated on teamwork and camaraderie. To mess with that at this point in the season may be a mistake; especially when you consider that Jared Sullinger would merely serve as a temporary fix.
Instead, perhaps Danny Ainge and the Celtics should do as they did at the trade deadline, and stand pat. Let’s see what this team is capable of doing in the postseason. Who knows? Maybe they’ll pull off something special… After all, this is the Boston Celtics we’re talking about.