Last season Jared Sullinger played in 45 games for the Boston Celtics. He improved steadily each month, then his back started causing issues and he missed the last two months of the season. He played last minutes per game and his responsibilities on the court, and off the court, were much less last year. He was a rookie, surrounded by Hall of Fame veterans. All he had to do was learn.
Now, Sullinger has a lot to do. The pressure has been on since he started talking about Celtic Pride this summer. He started the season playing great basketball. Many thought he was the best player on a team that surprised many people as they sat a top the Atlantic Division in the middle of December.
The month of January has not been kind to Sullinger. He numbers are down across the board. Yes, he did battle through an injury. However, he did continue to play and the stats prove a drop in production.
The question is: will he continue to slip or can be bounce back in February?
Here are his splits for the first three months of the season per NBA-Reference:
Month PPG RPG FG% 3FG% TS% ORtg DRtg
Every stat has gone down. Some considerably, except for his rebounding numbers which are way up. His 3-point shooting was defensible in December. It was fun and cute. Now it's horrible. His TS% (shooting percentage where free throws and three pointers are weighted for their total) has gone down 10% since December.
Also, his offense and defense ratings are going in the wrong direction. A -10 differential is abhorrent. Now, obviously the team had a good run until they hit January. They hit a 10 game losing streak and they have gone 2-12 this month, so players' stats are going to suffer. However, considering Sullinger's past with injuries and the fact that he will eclipse the total games that he played last year, it's worth watching to see if he can turn this slump around or if he continues to slide as the season wears on and it gets harder and harder to get motivated.
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