The Big Three era has come to an end. Ray Allen is almost certainly going to Miami and Kevin Garnett does not have many years left in his tank — if he even decides to return next season. As a team needing to rebuild, the Celtics had a nice position in the draft with the #21 and #22 picks. Here's who they got:
With their first pick, the Celtics chose Jared Sullinger of Ohio State. The 6’9” power forward was absolutely dominant in college and led the Buckeyes to the Final Four with his 17.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season. Arguably the best low post scorer in the draft, Sullinger could seriously help the Celtics and be an integral part of their rebuilding process.
The only reason Boston was able to grab Sullinger so late in the draft is because of his injury potential. Although he claims it won't be a big issue, problems with his back caused the All-American to be flagged by several teams and fall out of the lottery. If he can stay healthy, Sullinger will give Boston the size they need; his rebounding, basketball IQ, and scoring ability is definitely top 10 talent, so this is a risk the Celtics needed to take. As a defensive-oriented team, Sullinger will fit nicely into Boston’s system.
With their next pick, Boston chose Fab Melo of Syracuse. Unlike Sullinger, who is already very developed, the Brazilian native is pure potential. He boasts the body of an NBA center and is becoming a force defensively. In his second and final season at Syracuse, Melo averaged 3 blocks per game and rightfully earned the title of Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Although he will be a project for the Celtics, Melo could develop into a solid center.
For both players, playing with Rajon Rondo will be a huge plus. The point guard has the ability to take control of games and bring out the best in his teammates. With an average of 12 assists per game, Rondo will certainly contribute to the offensive development of Boston’s rookies.
Coach Doc Rivers was very happy with the picks and offered his opinion on the two. He claimed, "We like the size, we needed size" and praised them for their "physical force." He understands Melo will need time to develop, stating, "we have to teach him the Celtic way, we have to teach him how to work, and understanding how to play as a winner."
Melo must play within the Celtics' system, which demands high effort, teamwork, and consistency. If he can’t do so, he has no chance of succeeding.
Melo will have a lot to live up to if he plans to eventually take Kevin Garnett's place. As a symbol of the Celtics organization, the former MVP was never questioned for his effort level and provided Boston with energy, scoring, and leadership. Melo must learn how to play within the Celtics' system, which demands high effort, teamwork, and consistency. If he cannot do so, the 22-year-old has no chance of succeeding in Boston. If Garnett stays around, the rookie could benefit from his leadership and learn a lot from the veteran.
Sullinger, on the other hand, will have an immediate impact. As a probable sixth man, the power forward will give Boston the size and rebounding they desperately need, and his scoring ability will make him hard to cover. If he stays healthy, Sullinger will could the X-factor that Boston so sorely needed during their long postseason run.
As a team that will be feeling pressure from their city, the Celtics will certainly not be placing too much weight on their rookies. They need to make the most of free agency and sign a few players in order to continue the team's success. With that said, Rivers is "very optimistic" for his rookies and feels they have a bright future if they "put in the time" and want to improve.
Fan Hub Action
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
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