It’s no secret the Celtics have been disappointed in Jared Sullinger’s production and conditioning over his first three seasons.
The 2012 first-round pick’s middling career numbers (13.3 PPG, 7.4 rebounds, .440 FG%) quantify the former and pictures – as well as Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge – say a thousand words on the latter.
“I think every guy has met the goals that they have set in regards to strength and conditioning, and body-fat, and weight, and all the different things our strength coaches do on a regular basis,’’ Ainge said in February during an appearance on 98.5’s Toucher and Rich. “Jared just hasn’t met his goals.’’
With less than three months until the start of the regular season, the tough talk might have worked: If his Twitter is to be believed, Sullinger has taken his boss’s tough talk to heart.
what was I thinking pic.twitter.com/5BHMzS368P— Jared Sullinger (@Jared_Sully0) August 12, 2015
It certainly looks like Sullinger has lost some weight – that spare tire appears to have lost some diameter, and his upper body looks generally more defined – but overhead lighting can go a long way.
Sullinger tweeted another comparison a few minutes later, this one seemingly showcasing a shrunken gut.
In 8 weeks I only lost my chain!!!!! pic.twitter.com/6ivk59ZFUM— Jared Sullinger (@Jared_Sully0) August 12, 2015
Again, inconclusive, but some recent comments from head coach Brad Stevens suggests looks may not be deceiving here.
“He’s been working out in a couple different locations,’’ Stevens told SiriusXM’s NBA Radio last month. “But everything that I have heard, every time I’ve spoken with him, every time I have spoken to people around him, it sounds like he’s doing great.’’
If the Celtics are to improve on their eighth-seed finish last season, they’ll need Sullinger to reach his potential. At the very least, fans have more reason for optimism this August than last.