What Does NBA Summer League Success of Boston Celtics Rookie Kelly Olynyk Mean?

By Cody Williams
Kelly Olynyk Summer League Celtics
Greg M. Cooper – USA Today Sports Images

With all of the talk still going on about what happened at NBA Summer League, much of the conversation has been geared about what the guys that took part in the Las Vegas Summer League and who performed well there. However, arguably the biggest success of Summer League happened in Orlando with Boston Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk.

The big man out of Gonzaga played in all five games in Orlando for the Celts and was easily one of the biggest stars over the week. He put up 18 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals in just 24.2 minutes per game while also shooting 57.8 percent from the field. It is just Summer League, so everything has to be taken with a grain of salt, but Olynyk was incredibly impressive.

Olynyk showed a great amount of skill on the offensive end of the floor. Many people worried about his lack of size and short wingspan limiting him on both ends of the floor, but he showed off a nice array of post moves and the ability to step out and knock down a 15-foot jump shot. Moreover, he showed a fantastic motor that allowed him to have success on the boards and not be a liability on the defensive end of the floor.

With the Celtics rebuilding after losing Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the question that Olynyk left people asking is what the rookie’s role will be with Boston next season, which is actually kind of a complicated question.

The Celtics used their lone first-round pick on Olynyk with a litany of big men to choose from still left on the board. They believe in his potential to help solidify their frontcourt as they rebuild this team for the future. Given that, the Celtics obviously will want to get Olynyk a good bit of experience in the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

However, the Celtics will also want to make sure Olynyk gets acclimated to the NBA game successfully. Though he showed a ton of promise on the offensive end of the floor at Summer League, the Celtics most likely won’t throw Olynyk into the fire in the regular season and will likely make him a third option to guys like Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo, when Rondo returns from his ACL injury, in the offense.

Essentially, Boston knows from the draft process and from Summer League that they may have gotten a steal in Olynyk. However, they also know that the transition from college to the actual pro game is not an easy one and, despite Olynyk’s talent, he is likely to struggle. He will be a contributor for the Celtics next season, but don’t expect him to be putting up the same numbers he did in Orlando during the regular season.

Cody Williams is a Senior Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20, add him on Google+ and like his Facebook page.

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