By Jon Shames on April 3, 2014
Kelly Olynyk hasn't been who we thought he was going to be. He dominated Summer League to the tune of 18.0 points per game over five contests, and showed off an ability to score in countless different ways. Needless to say, Olynyk hasn't performed anywhere near that level since the start of the regular season, and he has struggled to find regularity from game to game. Still, his season hasn't been too shabby. Here is his report card for the year.
If there was one thing Celtics fans expected Olynyk to immediately contribute, it was scoring. At Gonzaga, he was the NCAA's most efficient player with a conversion rate that topped 60 percent. Unfortunately, his offensive skill set hasn't really translated to the NBA. He is posting an average of only 7.7 points per game, which is actually in the upper-tier of averages for rookies, and is shooting 44.8 percent from the field.
Is a big man who can't play defense or rebound really a big man?
The question was asked by countless Celtics fans when Olynyk was selected with the 13th pick in last year's draft. But when it comes to rebounding, Olynyk hasn't been nearly as bad as advertised. The seven-footer is hauling in 4.9 boards a game in only 19.3 minutes a night. He doesn't have the best hands, but makes up for that with a high motor and smart positioning.
Olynyk is a fantastic passer, especially for a big man. He may only be averaging 1.5 assists per game, but remember, that comes in less than 20 minutes of playing time each night. Olynyk keeps his head up on the post and is always looking to dish it when the opportunity to score doesn't present itself. He isn't flashy, but occasionally he'll drop a sweet dime in the form of a touch-pass or a no-looker.
Without question, Olynyk is the worst defender on Boston's roster. Between his tiny wingspan, utter lack of lateral quickness, poor instincts, and nonexistent rim-protection abilities, he is more of a liability on that end of the floor than anything else. His excessive fouling is also an issue; Olynyk has fouled out of three games this year, and has picked up five fouls in 12 others.
You can go ahead and chalk Olynyk's season up as a success. As the 13th pick in a very underwhelming draft class, he has made Boston GM Danny Ainge look like a genius. Recently, Olynyk has been playing very well; he averaged 9.6 points per game on 51.5 percent shooting through 14 games in March, all while playing just 1.3 more minutes than his season average. With some more consistent playing time, KO could be a star.
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