Kelly Olynyk a candidate for NBA Rookie of the Year

USA TODAY Sports

Ok, technically all rookies are candidates, but still.

ESPN's Chad Ford ranks Kelly Olynyk as having the 6th best chance at winning rookie of the year.  Ahead of him are Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, Ben McLemore, Cody Zeller and C.J. McCollum (top pick Anthony Bennett noticeably absent).

NBA - Ranking top 10 Rookie of the Year candidates for 2013-14 - ESPN

The case for Olynyk: Olynyk was one of the few rookies to really shine at the Orlando summer league. He showed a sophisticated game that combined size and skill. Boston is going to be horrible this season, and you can expect the Celtics to try to do everything they can to showcase players like Olynyk.

The case against Olynyk: New head coach Brad Stevens emphasizes toughness and defense on his teams, and those are areas in which Olynyk is still lacking. With a bit of a logjam at power forward, Olynyk will likely be forced to play center this season, which doesn't really cater to his strengths.

I think he'll contribute right away on offense and that should be enough to keep him in the lineup.  I'm hoping that his defense is "underrated" (there's that word again) and that he'll be able to pick up the schemes that Brad Stevens lays out fairly quickly.

Could Kelly Olynyk of Boston Celtics win NBA Rookie of the Year? ESPN writer ranks him 6th among candidates | masslive.com

Olynyk's hair earned him the nickname "Sunshine" from Jeff Green, and his play left veteran teammates (and new coach Brad Stevens) excited for the possibilities. Reigning Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard tweeted that he likes Olynyk's game and the rest of the basketball world seemed to agree, even if the Canadian wasn't exactly meeting all-defensive team caliber opponents.

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