Celtics Roster Watch: Jared Sullinger At Risk Of Losing Spot In Rotation

by NESN Staff

October 13, 2015

WALTHAM, Mass. — It was the Boston Celtics’ first game at TD Garden since April, and Jared Sullinger was on the bench.

Normally, this wouldn’t be cause for too much concern, but there was one problem: The Celtics were playing an intra-squad scrimmage.

In the first sign that the pressure will be on the Boston power forward this season, Sullinger wasn’t among the first 10 players on the floor two weeks ago for the Celtics’ Green and White scrimmage, watching the likes of Tyler Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson and David Lee start ahead of him.

Sullinger got a decent amount of run in Europe against Olimpia Milano and Real Madrid, but after an offseason in which he needed a literal intervention to start improving his poor conditioning, he’ll have his work cut out for him in a very crowded position group.

Lee and Zeller started in the frontcourt against both Milano and Madrid, and Olynyk wasn’t far behind, seeing greater than 37 total minutes of playing time to lead all big men off the bench. Sullinger, meanwhile, played fewer than 27 total minutes.

As it stands right now, Sullinger appears to be fifth in the pecking order in Boston’s frontcourt. Judging by the comments head coach Brad Stevens made Monday, that doesn’t bode well for the big man.

“My thought right now is we wouldn?t play more than four (big men) on most nights,? Stevens said, via CBS Boston. ?So whoever those four might be may depend on the night, it may depend on how they are playing, it may depend on who is healthy. All that other stuff.”

The Celtics have five preseason games over the next two weeks, starting Wednesday in Brooklyn against the Nets. Boston didn’t pick Sullinger 21st overall in the 2012 NBA draft for no reason, and the door remains open for him to earn his playing time.

But given the stiff competition he faces, it looks like there’s little room for error.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger (7) reacts after being called for a foul during the second half in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden.
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