Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
From being selected 13th in June’s draft, to starring at the Orlando Summer League, to struggling early in his rookie campaign to elevating, to a starting role as he settled in, to suffering a severe right ankle sprain that sidelined him for 10 games, Olynyk has crammed an awful lot into his first 180 days on the job.
Olynyk Riding Out Ups & Downs-Chris Forsberg
Kelly Olynyk definitely showed some flashes of brilliance while playing for the Celts’ summer league team in Orlando. But at about two months into the season, he seems to have come back down to earth. The Celtics traded up three spots to get Kelly, so expectations were definitely high. Some fans were even upset at the pick, wanting Ainge and company to use their draft pick on other touted college players. But all and all, I have liked what I’ve seen from Kelly. Excellent hands, a great passing touch, especially for a big and a great basketball IQ. The guy gets it. Now he just needs to be patient, learn from his mistakes and perhaps get into the weight room with strength & conditioning coach Bryan Doo. We’ve seen Olynyk really struggle on defense at times, and opposing bigs have had their way with him in the paint due to his small frame.
Kelly has had quite a few obstacles thrown his way during his first season in the NBA. He’s been bounced around between the bench & the starting lineup and just recently had his first significant injury-a major ankle sprain that sidelined him for ten games. Since his return, he’s averaged just under 4 ppg and 3.5 rebounds a game. Those are both obviously below his season averages of 6.4 & 4.9, but teammates like Jared Sullinger are not concerned and have complete faith the rook will bounce back:
“He’s playing well,” Sullinger said. “He had that big, big ankle injury that set him out for a couple of weeks, so he had a little setback. He’s starting to get his timing back, starting to get his lift back, and it showed. It showed against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s just got to get his timing back. It’s going to take some time, but he’s playing well.”
Going forward, Celtics coach Brad Stevens would like to see Olynyk work on his defensive game-specifically down low. Perimeter defense has been something Stevens has stressed all season, and he feels Kelly is a very good defender out on the edges. But he definitely sees room for improvement in the paint.
“He’s a pretty good perimeter defender, moving his feet, challenging shots, those type of things,” Stevens said. “That makes sense since he was a smaller guy growing up, but now he can just get better and better on the interior.”
Kelly Olynyk has been s good player for the C’s so far this season. At this point, given what he’s gone through, I’d say he’s handled things pretty well. He comes off to me as a humble kid with a desire to learn. He has a quiet confidence that will only continue to grow as he improves as a player. Making the adjustment from college to the NBA is not easy, and we’ve seen many players, aka “busts”, fail miserably. I do not think Kelly will be one of those guys. Neither does he.
“You have to have the confidence and belief,” Olynyk said. “Obviously, it’s tough. [Offense] used to come easy all the time, but once you get to this level you almost have to relearn where your shots are going to come from, what they are going to be like, when to take them, when not to take them, that kind of stuff.
“It’s going to come, and I believe it will, and I think the team has belief. Whenever that happens, it happens. But you don’t want to force it too much.”
The rest of the links: