I’m sure we can all agree that this years Celtics team has not been the easiest to watch at times. Although this team has also been very enjoyable to watch, despite the up and down season (albeit mostly down). Even though the team is losing lots of games, I can’t help but feel fairly pleased after most games. We may not be cohesively winning games consistently, but when we do win games its a whole team effort, with new guys stepping up every night. This season has been full of surprises and skewed expectations. Jeff Green was expected to carry this team on his back, and score upwards towards 20 points a game, and has shown us once and for all that he’s just not that guy. I’m not sure if anyone can honestly say they expected Jordan Crawford to do what he did, although he is gone now. Phil Pressey has also been very solid in his limited playing time, especially for an undrafted rookie!
The player that I've been most impressed with lately however is Kelly Olynyk. KO came into the season with relatively high expectations placed upon him after a wonderful summer league showcase. Olynyk averaged 18 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists, and was ranked the number 1 rookie at the start of the season by NBA.com. Once the season finally started KO did not look like the player he was in summer league. Although he had his occasional moments, he was a very tentative player, with little to no confidence, and gathered fouls like a fly trap. He was making progress steadily, but injuries and his severe tentativeness were starting to stunt his growth. Olynyk was a rookie in every sense of the word, and many fans (including myself) wrote him off as a bust quickly.
However, as the season has progressed KO is looking more and more like the player we saw this summer. This past month especially Olynyk has really been proving that he is a special player, with unique talents for a man of his size. Averaging 8.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists (*all career highs) in the month of February, he is looking like he could develop into a very impactful player. Lately it has been pretty apparent how much better the team plays with Olynyk on the floor, and the statistics support it. In the last 4 games he’s averaged 17.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.3assists all in just 23 minutes a game. Hopefully he can keep up this impressive hot streak, but regardless of how the season ends, Olynyk has impressed me. He’s a very talented offensive player with a nice repertoire of moves at his exposal. And although he’s not very athletic, and is overall a poor defensive player, he sometimes gets bailed out because he such a smart player.
I think Olynyk is a player the Celtics should keep for the future because of his ability to do so many things on the court. He can put the ball in the hoop, with has a very nice touch inside, and has shown that he can hit the occasional three. Even though he’s only shooting 32% from three-point land, he has shown that he can make them, but he just needs to work on it. He also plays with such a high motor, always giving it his all, which is something you always want in your players. His high motor as well as his bball IQ helps him overcome his athletic implications in the rebounding department, where KO is pleasantly surprising solid at. According to Basketball-refrence.com Olynyk has a defensive rebound percentage (DRP) of 17.4%, and has a surprising offensive rebound percentage (ORP) of 11.2%. Compare that to Jared Sullingers DRP of 20.5% and his ORP of 13.6%, not to shabby for an un-athletic T-rex. The Final part of Olynyk's game which I enjoy the most, is his passing and play-making abilities. He seems to be able to find the right guy at the right time more often than not, and does it very impressively for a 7 footer. Honestly I think he’s a multi talented player, who has a very nice ceiling. He will almost certainly develop into a very good player that could be used on many teams. What’s good about Olynyk is that he is a big man, who can shoot, but he plays an inside out game, with a passing ability that puts him on another level. I think he has the potential to be an All-star type player one-day, if he continues to put in work.