NBA scout: Olynyk has the tools to be widely known in the NBA | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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NBA scout: Olynyk has the tools to be widely known in the NBA


A week ago today, Kelly Olynyk participated in his first organized basketball game as a member of the Boston Celtics.  The gym was full of media, coaches, GM’s, and scouts all trying to get a read on what Olynyk and the rest of the new rookies had to offer.

Olynyk didn’t disappoint.

I liked what I saw from Olynyk throughout the week.  I didn’t care so much about the stats (which, at 18 ppg, 7.8 rpg, and 2.4 apg were impressive), I cared more about how he moved and reacted.  I found him to be very impressive, and I wasn’t alone.

An NBA scout I spoke to gave me an exclusive breakdown of what he saw from Olynyk this week.  As we expected, Olynyk’s offense stood out.

.“The biggest thing he presents offensive versatility,” the scout told me.  “He can score in every imaginable way.  He can shoot threes, he can shoot off the dribble, he can head fake and improve position, he can score in the post, he can score off offensive rebounds.”

Considering the Celtics are rebuilding right now, this scout likes how the team can make Olynyk work regardless of how the roster shakes out.

“He’s like a skilled European type player that can be utilized, because of his versatility, he’ll fit with a lot of different type of components. So if you have a limited center who is a limited offensive guy, you can play Olynyk away from the basket and make it work. Even if you have another guy that’s as versatile as he is, you might be able to down-screen for that guy, that guy pops out, and now Olynyk can score in the post. There’s a lot of different ways you can use him.”

The Celtics have another versatile guy in Jared Sullinger.  They can set Olynyk on the high post and Sullinger low with Rondo on that wing handling the ball.  If the Celtics can set up a shooter on the high-opposite side and Jeff Green on the opposite wing, the Celtics will have an offense that can actually score a few points.

And within that offense, the Celtics will be able to rely on Olynyk’s passing to get guys open looks.

“I wouldn’t say if he’s Arvydas Sabonis or Bill Walton,” said the scout.  “But I think he’s shown the ability to understand the game and have a high IQ, and when the defense moves, he delivers the right pass technically to somebody else.  He’ll pass off the dribble. He sees the floor.  A lot of those plays he looked good on [in Orlando] were set plays where guys went back door trying to catch somebody off guard, which is great because he can deliver that pass.”

At draft time, Olynyk had a few weaknesses that kept him out of the top 10.  But even those weaknesses didn’t seem to bother this scout.

.“I wouldn’t consider him a big time rebounder right now, but he’s got a decent nose for the ball. I don’t think he’s overly long. I don’t think he’s an explosive leaper. That might be a detraction against bigger, stronger guys. I didn’t think he had a lot of lift when I saw him in college to play with his back to the basket and shoot over people. I didn’t think that was really his game.  The trade-off is that you get a lot of versatility out of him. He can guard 5’s, and he can guard 4’s as well. He doesn’t not move his feet. I think he showed this week that his lateral quickness is where you want it to be, and I think that was a surprise to a lot of people.”

As for Olynyk facing guys who might be bigger and stronger than he is…

“He might get exposed by bigger, more powerful guys in the paint, but who are you really worried about like that anyway in the years to come? I understand there are a couple of guys like that now, but I’m not overly worried about that because he’s smart enough, he’s crafty enough, and he’s savvy enough to figure out a way to guard those guys that are a little more powerful than he is but less skilled.”

After a week of playing in Orlando, Olynyk has most certainly impressed this, and other NBA scout.  I stumbled onto a few conversations myself between executives who were surprised at some of the things Olynyk was doing.  So the next natural question is… how does Kelly Olynyk project out in his rookie year?

“It’s too early to speculate. It depends on what the makeup of the team is. Obviously with the Celtics they’ve got a lot of new faces, so how is it all going to jell together? He could play 30-35 minutes a game and be the rookie of the year, or play spot minutes and let him develop or feel comfortable and go from there. It really how their team ends up panning out in terms of their personnel. It’s hard to speculate without knowing exactly what’s going on over there.”

In the end though, it seems Danny Ainge might have hit the jackpot with the 13th pick.

“He has enough tools, and enough ability to certainly be widely known in the NBA.”

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  • Brian Pahlm

    Unless you are playing against roy hibbert or dwight howard, a line up of sully KO green bradley and rondo is a .500 team. Sign Collins to help with the huge bigs on the cheap and this team is a 5/6 seed.

    • zippittyay

      Dwight schmight.

    • EricKrasnauskas

      Agreed, that’s a young hungry lineup that I’d like to see in action.

    • eddysamson

      Ainge/Stevens MUST know this. If they use this season as a test for KO, Iverson, post-injury Rondo, post-surgery Sully, and 100% AB/Green we could be seeing a powerful team in the 2014-2015 seasons and beyond. Of course that all depends on those ifs I listed.

  • KGino

    His ceiling is Dirk…. Lets hope he gets there

    • Curt Hays

      I have described him as Dirk but with muscles.

  • RedsLoveChild

    He`ll need a different headband and beard….but he`ll get noticed just by the fact that he`s clearly going for the “1974-78 Bill Walton look” in 2013!

  • Frank Aziza

    I wish we didn’t blow up the roster for one more year. Remember , one lousy year at this time we loved our new roster. The season was a disaster, injuries every day.
    One more shot would have been nice especially if this rook could have helped us. We could have also used a free agent signing and I like our chances. At the very least, we could have had an outside chance of a finals appearance.

    • Buddy_Hinton

      No way we would have made the finals this year. With one more shot and we wouldn’t have all these draft picks, one more shot and our future would be bleak at best.

    • BsCsPats

      I agree with you in my heart kinda…. but the reality is it was time. Think of it from KG and Pauls perspective too. It would be pretty sad for them to finish their careers with disappointing playoff runs in Boston.

      • SamR

        I don’t agree that was their perspective. I think PP would have rather finished his career as a Celtic.

  • RenaldosWalkman

    Travis Knight!

  • Chris

    That is a nice starting lineup. gotta get rid of Wallace and Mr kardashian tho def

  • zippittyay

    It may be sacrilege, but I say more than anything, Kelly Olynyk is just a ‘poor man’s’ Larry Bird. His game is much more similar to Bird’s than Dirk’s or anyone else I can think of. KO is just not as good as Bird was. Larry wasn’t drafted for his ability to rebound or shut down players defensively.

    • Rocko Balboa

      You sound like some 20 year old punk who never saw Larry Bird play. If Olynyk was a “poor man’s” Larry Bird, he’d be the best player in the NBA this year. Please.

  • kobe_beef2424

    trade him to the Lakers

  • Aye Run

    Dirk. First comment. Funny. Let’s stick to Danny’s assessment being a little modest,and see how things work out.

    • KGino

      If you read carefully, I said his ceiling is dirk. As in the best he could possibly ever get. And to HOPE that he gets there. As in he probably never will, but we can hope he does.

  • Aye Run

    I do agree it will be fun to have a Bill Walton look-alike on the team. Too bad he can’t block shots or rebound like Mountain Man.

  • Aye Run

    Pending moves involving kh/gw, we’ll suck. If Danny makes the right moves, we will move into that 32-45 win purgatory.

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  • Rocko Balboa

    Great, a 7 footer who can’t rebound. How many years in a row have we finished at the bottom of the league in rebounding? Oh yeah, every year since Perk was traded. Nice, Danny.