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Sullinger stowing injury concerns, young Cavs impress in summer league
By V.R. BryantPosted Jul 25, 2012
It seemed like the kiss of death for a kid that did all the right things.
Days before the draft, after sticking around for a sophomore season that at least resulted in a Final Four berth, Jared Sullinger was red-flagged, the critique centering around the young big man's back.
He slipped a bit, going outside of the lottery to the Boston Celtics. At least so far, he's making the best of what looked like a bad situation.
The rigors of the summer league have helped him improve his conditioning, but his production alone has the team and others buzzing about what he could contribute to a team that lacked rebounding and toughness in the post a year ago.
Sullinger averaged 11.2 points and 8.6 rebounds in his five games and looked undeniably like the most talented player on the select summer league Celtics roster.
Fellow Boston draftee and post player Fab Melo was far less remarkable; any questions lingering from June about which of these two players was more ready to make a contribution have been answered soundly.
From Boston over to your Cleveland Cavaliers, there was good news to be heard there as well. Tyler Zeller, whom the Cavs acquired from Dallas on draft day, has looked great offensively, reminding many observers of a younger, more athletic Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
Zeller's defense still leaves something to be desired, but he's a smart player and isn't a liability mentally on the floor.
Dion Waiters, the team's first pick, has apparently wowed people with his nose for getting to the iron; he and Kyrie Irving (whenever his hand heals) both out on the wings, penetrating, and finding open shooters will go a long way toward upping the Cleveland offense.
Tristan Thompson and the lesser-known Samardo Samuels also impressed in summer play, the latter looking slimmed down and more athletic--good signs for an under-sized center.
In all, the Cavs' coffers are looking a little more full than before, particularly in the post department. Whether this positivity carry over into the regular season is another story.