Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images
Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger faced a tall task in Tuesday's game against the Nets.ORLANDO, Fla. -- While introducing Celtics top draft pick Jared Sullinger last week, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge stressed how Sullinger will have to play the center position at times at the NBA level and that will mean an adjustment period going up against legit 7-footers.
Sullinger got a bit of an appetizer in Tuesday's summer league tilt against the Brooklyn Nets as he was often matched up with 7-footer Jeff Foote. What's more, the Nets still brought double teams on Sullinger, limiting his ability to do much offensively. Boston's 21st pick in last month's draft still chipped in 8 points (on 3-of-12 shooting) with a game-high 12 rebounds and two assists over 30:50.
"It was a little bit different," Sullinger admitted of going up against a 7-footer. "They collapsed on the post; I wasn’t expecting that and it kinda threw me off guard. I thought with a 7-footer, they would try to contain, but they decided to bring the double every now and then, so that kinda threw me off."
It threw off his ability to maneuver around the basket, but it highlighted one of Sullinger's other biggest assets -- his passing. When double teams come, Sullinger has an excellent ability to make the interior pass to a cutting teammate.
"Getting double-teamed for majority of your life, you just gotta learn how to pass," said Sullinger. "If I didn't know how to pass, I wouldn’t be here right now. With the double-team, I’m so used to it, the pass is easy."
Sullinger's effort on the glass was hard to ignore as well. The Celtics have been a woeful offensive rebounding team in recent seasons and Sullinger grabbed four offensive boards on Tuesday, then offer insight on his talent for getting proper positioning.
"It’s not about jumping, it’s just getting perfect position to be ready to get the rebound," he said. "Reading the shot, just knowing the shooter. It only takes me a couple times to know my shooters. With like (Celtics summer leaguer Jonathan Gibson), sometimes his come off short. It takes me a couple days to know what kind of shots, you just gotta read it."
A reporter then asked for the scouting report on E'Twaun Moore's shot.
"Little bit of both -- little long, depending on if it’s a contested shot," said Sullinger. "Most of the time long by himself, but sometimes short."
Sullinger then playfully punctuated the lesson by noting, "You can all look out for that, and when y’all find that out, you’re welcome."