Olynyk impresses in summer debut, but Celtics want more | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Olynyk impresses in summer debut, but Celtics want more

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Yes, it’s summer league, which is the caveat that should just be understood as we get into any of these pieces.  But Kelly Olynyk looked pretty good in his first game with “Boston” on his chest.  After nearly 27 minutes of play, the scouting report on him looked pretty accurate.

He poured in a game-high 25 points in Boston’s 95-88 loss to the host Orlando Magic.  He only missed three of his 12 shots, and two of those misses were from 3.  He displayed a nice variety to his offensive game, hitting two from long-range, putting the ball on the floor and finishing at the rim, and even getting himself out of trouble on the post.  He also hit all five of his free throws.

“I thought he was really good,” said new Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who watched the game sitting next to Danny Ainge on the other side of the floor.  “He made plays off the bounce, he shot it freely which is really a positive thing.”

But not freely enough for the Celtics.

“He just needs to be more aggressive,” said Jared Sullinger, who played the role of coach here as he continues his recovery from back surgery.  “Every time he touches it he should look to score.  Open shots, he needs to shoot them.  Sometimes he needs to shoot contested shots.  I just think he needs to be more aggressive and more assertive and let these guys know he came to play.”

olynyk summer league“He’s gotta shoot when he’s open,” Summer League coach Jay Larranaga added.  “He had some open shots that he turned down.  He’s such an unselfish player and we just keep encouraging him to shoot when he’s open.”

Call it part of the learning process for Olynyk, who spent his college career in a system that valued ball movement, and who is just a naturally unselfish kind of guy.

““It’s tough because I think I’m a bit of an unselfish player at times.  Some times at fault so, they’re telling me to shoot the ball when I’m open and don’t be worried so I gotta really work on that.  Hopefully after a couple of days here I can get in that mode.”

As impressive as Olynyk was, he still had problems out there.  He had 6 fouls (you can’t foul out in Summer League) and 5 turnovers.  He also struggled defensively, often getting knocked around a bit trying to defend other post players.  On one possession, Andrew Nicholson pounded into him three straight times, knocking Olynyk further back towards the basket.  On the last pop, Olynyk took a shot to the chops, which was a not-so-subtle introduction to a new style of defense.

“I told him don’t take it with your chest no more,”  Sullinger said.  “In college you gotta take it with your chest now you can use your forearm and a hand, but it’s a learning process for him.”

But we knew coming into this that the Celtics first-round pick was going to be more polished offensively than he was defensively.  One skill he brings to the table is one that he’s especially focused on since leaving Gonzaga:  the 3 point shot.

“It’s been a focus, especially after I exited college and getting ready for workouts and the draft because it’s such an asset for a team to have that,” said Olynyk.  “To have a big that can stretch the floor opens up driving lanes for guards.  It makes it tough on defenses.  It’s something I’m focusing on. I’m by no means where I need to be I still need to improve but I’m going to still keep working on that.”

It’s only the first day of summer league, but when you’re looking at a team that’s been stripped of so much, it’s hard not to overreact.  Olynyk’s offensive game looks smooth, and coaches I spoke to during the game say his offense is NBA ready right now.  The Celtics are already impressed with Olynyk’s basketball IQ, and Larranaga is publicly displaying a trust him this week that encourages him to let loose.

“He needs to know we have the utmost confidence in whatever decision he makes because he’s such a smart basketball player.”

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  • CoachAJ

    KellyO had a great showing. Lots to work on but lots to grow on too. Nolan Smith’s summer is done as he might have a tear in his right calf. SMH no chance to make the roster and gotta heal up for any other chance around the league/world. Get well kid.

  • Astarot

    Good to know about KellyO sad to hear Smith is done. I’ve seen stats and from that it seemed Pressey had a decent game and Fab not so much. I haven’t seen the game how it looked overall apart from Olynyk, who made a good impression? And I’m impressed with Sullinger, how he grew up from the last year just to hear him talking about the team and the basketball I hope he will help Olynyk to develop.

    • Raoul

      +1 on Sully truly proving to be a young professional. The guy is a sponge for greatness.

  • Raoul

    Colton Iverson really stuck to defense huh? Looking at footage, Colton is much more of a complete player. He’s bigger, just as quick (neither are very quick), can shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor, and has great post moves that come with explosiveness. I’ve seen Olynyk’s lack of explosiveness and assertiveness be a terror on offense, so I don’t know if this is a Summer League performance, or a realistic glimpse at what he can do. Also, I never knew he had such a short wingspan. The last thing we need right now is a PF. I think Colton would be the Center we need, along with Fab Melo. They can combine for some great performance. Neither has to play more than the other… 24mins each/half quarters each. Check out this Colton workout with Boston, as well as this Olynyk analysis. I know the Colton one only shows his strengths but still:



    • Raoul

      What Combo sounds best to you guys?


      • Astarot

        I’ll honest neither of those. i mean I think they need some other, more experienced guy on the 5 slot. If I have to make a choice Colton/Olynyk but it’s way to early to say though.

        • Raoul

          Agreed! I hate this time of the year because everything is speculation. What do you think about Randolph or Wilcox? Either enough to be that experienced guy to keep?

          • Astarot

            I think both. Ok Wilcox had ups and downs and didn’t have a season we thought he’d have. Shav he’s done a lot I mean a lot not only considering stats, rebounds but the transition he’s made from China to NBA that’s big. He deserved the chance at least half of the season. And a) they need experienced guys now that they lost PP and KG. Also it’s always good to have them in the lockerroom. b) They know the team, the club overall always good to have that kind of players now that a lot of new faces will show up. c) both will be cheap. In fact I’d say that Wilcox coud start as a C (undersized but still), maybe even Shav coud step up to that role who knows. All the young bigs they have I think nether of them is ready to be a starter so I’d look for someone on the team first and then on the market. Saying all of that about bigs I’m assuming Hump won’t be on the team if he will maybe he’ll start (I don’t want it).

    • Astarot

      So you’ve seen the game and woud you say Fab had a better game than stats show?

      • Raoul

        I didn’t get to see the game. But with these stats from the game:

        Olynynk – 26Mins 25Pts 7Rebs 2Stls 2Ast
        Melo – 28Mins 9Pts 8Rebs 1Blk

        I see Colton as a complete NBA ready player on both ends of the floor, whereas Melo still is a project and hasn’t really developed into anything. I see Colton’s game to be more capable of getting closer to Olynyk’s stats given the same playing time, than Melo is capable of.

        All this is just my opinion of the players.

        • Astarot

          Thanks. I guess Melo made some progress for sure but is it an NBA level I don’t know too. I’d say we’ll have to see him in the NBA game. Colton has to prove he’s a player you’re sayin he is. Don’t get me wrong but to say that 2nd round pick is a complete NBA ready player is a lot especially when we’re talking about big and most often only top bigs in the draft are NBA ready

          • Raoul

            You’re right, it is a lot to hope for. Some say he was drafted so late because he didn’t have much time to build a reputation. He only really had 1 college season to get into the draft, so it’s impressive he even made it. Colton started at University of Minnesota, not getting much playing time with 5ppg and 4rpg. So he transferred his final year to Colorado State where he got more time and averaged 14ppg and 10rpg.

          • Astarot

            The best decision he’s made about the transfer, he was drafted thanks to that who knows right now maybe he has the upside. It’s hard to say in big’s case but he’s young has
            physical tools so maybe. Melo still a lot work to do maybe another year in D-league woud help him. Olynyk, well we’ll see his rebounding if he can rebound he’ll be fine and have a chance to develop – talented no doubt about that, better D woud help him to fight for playing time but ability to hit the 3 is always useful when you’re 7ft.

      • Jester00

        no fab still needs 2-3 years of cooking in the oven I watched the game he changed a lot of shots and shot OK but his feet are so slow it is awful

  • Mannie

    Any video highlights?

  • kobe_beef2424

    He looks like one of the member of the Hansons band. boston will tank it!