Rookie Sullinger says the gang's all in

September, 27, 2012
9/27/12
5:41
PM ET
BOSTON -- Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger got his first real dose of live action with his veteran teammates last week in Los Angeles during a series of team scrimmages organized by Rajon Rondo.

"That was fun. We had great team bonding," Sullinger said prior to taking a duck boat tour of Boston on Thursday. "Everybody went out. Everybody had fun, played ball. We never saw nobody go one-on-one. Everybody all went as a group. So, we just developed team chemistry."

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Greg Payne/ESPNBoston.com Jared Sullinger said the Celtics started to develop team chemistry during their recent practice sessions in California. "That was fun. We had great team bonding. Everybody went out. Everybody had fun, played ball," he said.
That sense of camaraderie has stuck out to Sullinger ever since he participated in two summer leagues this past July. While those teams grew close over the two-week span in Orlando and Las Vegas, Sullinger said he can tell a difference between those bonds and the current ones developing between his teammates.

"I think summer league is more hectic. It's not as controlled," Sullinger explained. "Because everybody's out there fighting for a job. Everybody wants to be signed. Everybody wants to try to make it to the NBA. So it's a little more hectic. It's a little faster, got a little more one-on-one. So you step in and you leave summer league behind you and you've got your team. I think it's more team basketball, so it's not much one-on-one."

Individual defensive assignments were handed out for the team scrimmages last week, and even though their positions will overlap from time to time, Sullinger didn't have to worry about guarding Kevin Garnett.

"That was Fab [Melo]'s job," Sullinger said. "I think Fab did OK. Fab did OK. We've got a lot of learning to do as rookies, so I think that was a good stepping stone for Fab to play against KG and just me to be able to be out there."

Even though he didn't go up against him directly, Garnett still made an impression on Boston's top rookie.

"Great guy. Great guy, great teammate," Sullinger said of Garnett. "He's almost like a players' coach. I mean, he knows what he's talking about, he handles his business, but it's going to be a lot of fun this year."

Sullinger said improved conditioning was at the top of his offseason wish list, and even though he hasn't lost much weight, he said he's in "overall better shape, body-wise." Sullinger said he hasn't set any goals for himself for the coming season, maintaining his stance that the team -- and keeping head coach Doc Rivers happy -- comes first. He's already on the right track with Rivers, who's a big proponent of conditioning.

"Honestly, I've never been like that [setting personal goals]. I've never been that type of basketball player," Sullinger said. "Everything I had always goes towards the team. Whatever the team needs me to do, I'm going to do it."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.8 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksK. Humphries 0.9