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.
He sounded a bit frustrated, like a player who isn’t playing, when asked to assess how well his rookie year has gone so far.
“It’s been up and down,” Olynyk said. “There’s been some positives, some learning curves. The experiences have been really good. As long as you are in there every day working hard trying to get better, you know you are on the right path.”
The fear, for coach Brad Stevens, was Olynyk would be lost for an extended period of time with a broken toe. But Stevens said Olynyk checked out when they got back to Boston, and the plan is to keep the 13th pick in a boot for a few days. (Olynyk speculated it could be 5-6 days in the boot before testing out the injury.)
He has had flashes this season, but he’s also missed time with “freak” foot injuries, including a sprained right ankle that cost him 10 games.
“Yeah, it’s unfortunate,” said Olynyk, who’s averaged 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. “Bad luck I guess.”
If we really want to classify King Slender’s rookie year, I’d rather call it “down and up,” because his play has gotten a lot better over the past couple of months. Part of it is probably the return of Rajon Rondo, which has gotten him some better shots, but part of it is also some added confidence that comes along with having been a pro for a while.
Olynyk is starting to figure out what it takes to be an NBA player. He’s starting to understand little things like how long to hold a pick and when he has enough time to shoot as a defender is closing in on him. These tiny little things, and others, are little mistakes that a rookie will make when he’s still on college timing. In the bigger, faster world of the NBA, getting the nuances right means the difference between a successful pick and roll and one that can be defended… or a shot that has a chance to go in as opposed to one that he just doesn’t take because he’s afraid to get blocked.
When you add up the little things, they equal some bigger leaps in his play. Most impressive is the massive jump in his rebounding in February. He’s grabbing 6.5 rebounds a game in February as opposed to 3.8 in January and 4.8 per game overall this season. His instincts are being honed. You can see it on the floor.
I think Olynyk, despite all of the ridiculous comparisons, will ultimately be a pretty good all around player. He really can shoot, drive to the basket, and score in the post. He can’t do it as well as some of the guys to whom he is compared, but he still has that ability. A year of NBA ball under his belt will help a lot, an offseason with the Celtics’ training staff to get him better prepared for his sophomore season, and being surrounded by some better players will ultimately make Olynyk a very valuable member of this team.
I get his frustrations with how things have gone. In fact, I love it. It shows a desire to improve. But when it comes to Olynyk, I’m very optimistic about his future.
Page 2: Welcome back Chris Babb
He told the Portland Press Herald after Thursday’s game that the “Celtics have talked about wanting to see me make plays, run to the corner in transition, knock down shots, play defense.”
The paper spotlighted Babb’s season in Maine in Thursday’s editions.
“Chris Babb is a very educated basketball player, one of the most intelligent players I’ve been around,” Maine coach Mike Taylor told the Press Herald. “He knows how to play. He’s like a Peyton Manning out on the court. He understands his job. He understands everyone else’s job. He can cover for his teammates if there is a breakdown or mistake.”
ESPN Boston: Celtics expected to sign Babb to a 10-day contract
You may remember Chris Babb from such games as that furious preseason comeback against the Knicks where he scored 12 points in 8 minutes, and that other preseason game he played. He’s been playing in Maine since then, averaging about 11 points and 6 boards. He’s here to provide some depth as Avery Bradley continues to try to recover from his ankle injury.
Related links: CSNNE: Injury depleted C’s sign guard Babb
I’ve avoided the Rondo bullshit so far, but I have to point you to this piece from Steve Bulpett, the man who broke the story that became an international incident which has soiled the Twitter feeds of way too many for way too long. I’m not even going to quote the story or go into a big thing. Just go read the whole thing for the proper does of perspective from the person who first reported the story.
Also worth a read: This piece on CelticsBlog after some jagoff scout said in an ESPN piece that he’d take Rondo 40th if he had his choice of point guards.
The rest of the links
Globe: Chris Johnson’s hard work paying off | Rondo wrong this time | ESPN Boston: Rondo reminds us he is Rondo | CSNNE: Do the Celtics regret naming Rondo captain | Ryan: Is Rondo worth the trouble? | Ankle injury forcing Bradley to be cautious in return