It is no secret the Philadelphia 76ers must improve the power forward and center position if they want to clinch a postseason berth in 2013-14. One player in particular that could accomplish this is Gonzaga Bulldogs center/forward Kelly Olynyk.
The fact that center Andrew Bynum’s status remains to be a rather large unknown heading into next season is even more reason for the 76ers to draft a big man with the No. 11 overall pick. Not to mention, if Bynum signs with a different team, assuming anyone takes a giant gamble on him, Philadelphia’s depth chart will be depleted at the four and five spots. In fact, there are currently only a handful of guys on the roster that can effectively play the power forward and center position.
Olynyk stepped his game up in a big way this past season for the Bulldogs. The 22-year-old averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.1 blocks and 26.4 minutes per game. He also converted 62.9 percent of his 10.7 shot attempts per game and 30.0 percent from beyond the arc. Needless to stay, it was a career year for Olynyk, one that will in all likelihood make him a top 15 selection in the 2013 NBA Draft.
The 7’0”, 234-pound Canadian dominates in the post and plays with a lot of energy. He is not the most athletic big man, but he has plenty of size and intelligence to contribute immediately at the next level. He can consistently score around the basket, while he is also capable of knocking down mid-range jump shots. Obviously, that ability will allow him to take over games in the NBA.
Olynyk is a decent defensive player who understands what needs to be done to prevent the opposing big man from scoring. With that being said, his below-average athleticism and foot speed sometimes stops him from accomplishing his goal. The good news is foot work can be improved at the next level if he is willing to work on it on his own time.
Overall, I believe Olynyk would be a terrific asset for the 76ers. The fact that the team got very little production out of the power forward and center position means Olynyk could come in and start playing immediately.