The Boston Celtics were projected to take a big man with their first round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and they didn’t throw any curveballs. They settled on Gonzaga big man Kelly Olynyk, a player who many believed could develop into a solid offensive post-threat over time for the rebuilding Celtics.
Through the Celtics first two games at the 2013 Orlando Summer League, though, Olynyk has looked absolutely fantastic. In Sunday’s game against the Orlando Magic, Olynyk put up 25 points, seven rebounds and two steals on 9-12 shooting in just under 27 minutes. In 21 minutes on Monday against the Detroit Pistons, Olynyk put up 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and five steals on 5-9 shooting. He also cut down on his turnovers from game one to two, committing five against Orlando, but just one against Detroit.
Olynyk’s productivity through his first two Summer League games have a lot of people talking about his potential in the NBA, a lot of that talk being hyperbolic. Though it’s undeniable that Olynyk has displayed a nice feel and versatility offensively, it’s still entirely too early to judge Olynyk’s game.
Other than the fact that it’s Summer League which you can’t put too much stock in anyway, Olynyk has actually been matched up with some poor defenders. Andrew Nicholson, a sub-par young defensive was matched up with him in the game against the Magic. Then against the Pistons, Andre Drummond wasn’t even suited up, leaving their squad without a real rim-protector.
The lack of defensive competition that Olynyk has faced is obvious in his first two Summer League games and that has to be factored in. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to be as good as people think he could possibly be. However, it is a word of caution that we might want to slow down on the hyperbole.