Roster focus: Jared Sullinger

We’re profiling every player on the Celtics roster before the season begins. Today it’s Jared Sullinger.

Jared Sullinger
Reserve forward
6-feet-9-inches, 280 pounds, 20-years-old
2012/13 salary: $1.3 million


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Strengths: Sullinger has excelled at every level of basketball. He was a two-time All-American in two years at Ohio State after being one of the best high school players in the country. Scoring and rebounding ability highlight Sullinger’s strengths. He can post up, face up, and knock down jump shots. He has a nose for the ball on the glass that the Celtics have lacked in recent seasons.

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Room to improve:It’s simplistic to say Sullinger would be better if he were taller and slimmer. He isn’t. Where Sullinger will have to get better in the NBA is on defense. He needs to be able to defend his own man, and he needs to fit into Boston’s complex defensive schemes. He’ll also have some work to do against bigger, stronger NBA players. The days of him overpowering his defender and easily getting his own shot should be over.

Projections for 2012/13: 67 games, 6.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 22 minutes/game

Outlook:I think Sullinger’s going to get some run this season, which would go against Doc Rivers’s usual strategy of not playing rookies. Sullinger is a better backup option than Fab Melo, Jason Collins, and Darko Milicic. Chris Wilcox is theoretically ahead of Sullinger on the depth chart, but Wilcox admitted Friday he was only at 90 percent following heart surgery. Look for Sullinger to be a major part of the rotation.