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Five Reasons Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk Will Be An NBA Draft Lottery Selection

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Five Reasons Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk Will Be An NBA Draft Lottery Selection


Gonzaga Bulldogs star center and Naismith National Player of the Year candidate Kelly Olynyk is a lot of things. At 7', 238 pounds he is a great back-to-the-basket scorer, a solid perimeter shooter and an emerging athlete who has nowhere to go but up.

When NBA General Managers evaluate each passing draft class, a player of Olynyk's versatility and skill set is rarely one to be seen. While he may not be the most explosive athlete on the floor, he can do things at his size that betray his position and suggest there is even greater room for improvement ahead. His leadership ability alone has been impressive as he has taken the 'Zags to a scorching regular season start and to the school's first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in school history.

In short, Olynyk is the type of mixture of intangibles, leadership and definable skill that comes along every few years -- but is hardly in long supply. In a draft class that won't go down as one of the strongest in recent memory, Olynyk has an opportunity to emerge and become an NBA Draft lottery pick -- taken among the first few players overall in the 2013 Draft should he decide to go that route -- or certainly in the 2014 Draft should he choose to return for his senior season in Spokane.

Here are five reasons why Kelly Olynyk will be an NBA Draft lottery pick. Enjoy!

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Unlimited Upside


Kelly Olynyk saw an impressive improvement from his sophomore season in 2010-2011, and an even greater one to this season after a year away due to injury. Shooting nearly 66% from the field, 79% from the line and pulling down over seven boards per game, Olynyk is among the team leaders in all three categories, and among the nation's leaders as well -- in short, one of the country's most efficient performers. While he has improved athletically it’s just the beginning given his age and willingness to work hard to improve and lead his team- guys that have Olynyk’s skill set combined with unlimited upside come along rarely.

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High Production Per Minute & Efficiency (PER)


In calculating Kelly Olynyk’s Player Efficiency Rating (PER), often used by NBA General Managers and statistical gurus to determine how efficient a player is in the minutes they play, you see just how efficient he actually is. Olynyk’s ridiculous PER of 37.2 would make him the most efficient player in the NBA by a long-shot this season, with LeBron James a distant second. Obviously, this is an apples and oranges comparison, but if Olynyk’s efficiency translates to the pro game, he could well be a star in the making.

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Versatility Is At the Core of His Game


Kelly Olynyk is far from the most athletic center in college basketball, but the time he has put in over the past few seasons while backing up current Los Angeles Lakers center Robert Sacre is evident. Olynyk can step out of the paint and hit square up jump shots with the same efficiency and effectiveness as he can score with his back to the basket. This is evident in a 66% shooting mark from the field which is impressive for any big man, especially at the Division I level.

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He Will Accept the Role Presented Him


While an NBA GM would like for a lottery pick to be an instant impact guy, this isn’t always the expectation -- it depends on the situation and the environment in question. Depending on the team, Kelly Olynyk could just as easily be a complimentary player as a rookie as one that would be asked to play heavy minutes and make an instant impact. Given his willingness to sit behind Robert Sacre and develop his game, there’s certainty he will do the same in the Association.

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His Skill Set Is Unique and Rare


Because Kelly Olynyk developed a strong perimeter game early in his career at Gonzaga -- some argue to a fault which hurt his progress early on -- the mixture of interior and perimeter skill sets he enjoys is attractive to NBA scouts. Sure, at 7', 238 pounds Olynyk will need to pack on some pounds, and both upper and lower body-strength to endure the rigors of playing against NBA caliber big guys, but the desire to do so and the raw skills to be a success are undoubtedly there.