Ask most rookies in their NBA debut, and they’ll tell you they aren’t out to take over the team, dunk on Kobe, and boggle their coach’s mind with their knowledge. They just want a chance to prove themselves. When the Boston Celtics acquired Kelly Olynyk via trade from the Dallas Mavericks in this years’ draft, many thought Olynyk narrowly missed a golden opportunity to be mentored by Kevin Garnett. Garnett has been known to take young players under his wing, especially other big men, and give them some tough, expletive-laced love. After all, who wouldn’t love to work with one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the game?
However, I’m willing to bet Olynyk is perfectly happy in his new situation in Boston. For the Celtics, Olynyk is it. While starting Kris Humphries or Gerald Wallace over him would certainly be an option, Olynyk stands as the Celtics most realistic choice at the five.
Olynyk embodies the new era of Boston basketball and the youth movement that has overtaken the organization. Aside from simply being young and tall, the Gonzaga product also shoots a nasty 3-ball someone of his stature, a quality that will fit nicely with Head Coach Brad Stevens’ offense, which tends to be reliant on shooting from behind the arc. The Stevens-Olynyk pairing also works nicely because Stevens predecessor, Doc Rivers, had habit of under-using rookies.
His athleticism and grind-it-out style will also fit nicely with rebound-machine Jared Sullinger. In fact, I’m convinced there isn’t a player on the roster Olynyk will have a hard time meshing with. His versatile and more calculated rather than bruising style making him a prototype center, the five of tomorrow, if you will. Olynyk is a new kind of player on a new version of a team. The upside of not being filled with incredible talent is that he certainly won’t have a hard time finding minutes. There are even some who believe he should crack the starting five!
In reality, the Celtics team of last year would prove to be a tough environment for Olynyk. He wouldn’t be getting many minutes, and the minutes he did get would be fought over between himself and vastly different players. However, this version of the Celtics is exactly the right place for Olynyk. He may go from “good addition” to “dark horse Rookie of the Year” candidate pretty quickly. Whether he wants to slam it home, or fire away from downtown, Olynyk is in the right place to do so.