FanPost

Can we make comparisons now?

Kelly-olynyk1_medium

At the beginning of the season posters on this blog were tossing around comparisons between Kelly Olynyk and Dirk Nowitski. It was quickly pointed out that the only thing they had in common were that they were both white, 7 feet tall, and from a foreign country. It was way too early to start comparing KO to one of the most skillful big men in the game today, especially on the strength of a couple of summer league games. But now we are at a point in the season where we can really take a meaningful look at what KO has accomplished and how it stacks up to Dirk's first season in the league. Keep in mind that the situations in which the two players found themselves are very similar also. The Mavs were a rebuilding team that had a good young point guard in Steve Nash and a pretty good small forward in Michael Finley, but a cast of young or otherwise mostly forgettable players that had managed to win 19 games. Sound familiar? To date Kelly has played 49 games compared to 47 for Dirk in his rookie campaign and has averaged 19.1 minutes per game compared to Dirk's 20.4. Now that we have a representative sample to look at, here are the stats:

Kelly Olynyk Dirk Nowitski
MPG 19.1 20.4
Points 7.3 @ .428 8.2 @ .405
3pt/ft% .307/.818 .206/.773
Rebounds 4.8 3.2
Assists 1.7 1

Stats wise, our big Canadian stacks up very well with his German counterpart in their rookie campaigns, though it is worth mentioning that Dirk was about to turn 21 at this point, whereas Kelly is about to turn 23. Can KO make the leap that Nowitski made in his 2nd year? He already appears to be a very good passer, an area in which Dirk has never excelled. At his current rebounding rate, just the addition of additional playing time should eclipse Nowitski's 2nd year numbers. The real question is can KO match his 2nd year scoring and shooting percentages? Dirk scores 17.5 points per game in his 2nd season on better than 46% shooting and almost 38% from beyond the arc, while playing nearly 36 minutes per game. If we extrapolate Kelly's numbers out to 36 minutes, we get:

Kelly Olynyk Dirk Nowitski
MPG 36 35.8
Points 13.8 @ .429 17.5 @ .461
3pt/ft% .311/.818 .379/.830
Rebounds 9.1 6.5
Assists 3.2 2.5

It looks like our baby boy stacks up pretty nicely with the future hall of famer at this point in their respective careers. Can he continue to follow Dirk's career arc? That remains to be seen, but the tools are there. He looks a little doughy, but has a good frame. If he continues to work on his body in the off season to build strength and stamina and works with the coaching staff to fine tune his shooting touch, there is no reason we shouldn't expect to see marked improvement next season. Even if he never approaches Nowitski's scoring prowess, 18/10/5 on good shooting would probably get him in a few All-Star games and make him far and away the steal of the 2013 draft.

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