So who was the Celtics' Rookie of the Year? Our panel makes their choices.
Chris Johnson. Johnson was one of the pleasant surprises this year for the Celtics, and although Kelly Olynyk made some nice strides after the All-Star Break, Johnson proved to be a reliable player and efficient scorer off the bench. The former D-Leaguer impressed the Celtics enough to earn a four-year contract, which should see him remain a solid bench option for Boston in the years to come.
Chris Johnson. There's that line in Fight Club where Brad Pitt asks Ed Norton what celebrity they'd want to fight and he responds with "Abe Lincoln." That's CJ to me; he's this wiry but strong dude that just doesn't quit.
This is a tough one. I guess if I have to pick one it would be Kelly Olynyk. He's shown quite a bit of promise this season and although Phil Pressey has been impressive also, I think Kelly was better overall.
Kelly Olynyk, though he has not had a great rokkie season, he has shown some promise and I think deserves the award over the other rookies on the roster, from the promise he has shown.
Kelly Olynyk: The 7-footer from Gonzaga has easily been one of the top rookies from the class of 2013. Despite missing a handful of games, Olynyk is showing signs that he can translate his college success to the pros. IN 68 games so far, Olynyk is averaging 8.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in only 19.6 minutes per game. Since the All-Star break, he has taken his game to a new level, which is also why he's my "Most Improved" pick. The selection of Olynyk might've received some criticism on draft night, but he has proven that he was the right choice so far.
Chris Johnson gets my vote for Rookie of the Year. The guy came in on a 10-day contract, played well enough to get another, and finally impressed so much that he earned a full-time gig for the remainder of the season.
Johnson has been the definition of a spark plug off the bench for Brad Steven's club and he's one of the few around the league that's willing to do all the little things that nobody else wants to. Add 6.3 points per game to all the hustle plays he makes and you've got a guy that's blowing away the Celtics' expectations. After all, Johnson wasn't meant to come in and play a specific role for Boston. However, he's quietly played his way into the rotation and has done a very good job in the 36 games he's suited up for.
Obviously, Kelly Olynyk is the popular choice but KO's numbers are right on par with what I expected from him in his inaugural NBA season. Johnson has been a more welcomed surprise.
I'm going to give the award to Kelly Olynyk and give a nod to Chris Johnson, but those two have been covered in the responses above. Allow me to throw some honorable mention credit to Phil Pressey.
We're talking about an undrafted, 5'11" point guard who doesn't have a particularly good outside shot and doesn't score the basketball with much frequency. Yet he was a regular rotation guy (played 75 games averaging 15 min a game) and started 11 games this year. In those 8 starts he averaged 8.2 points and 7.2 assists and was instrumental in pushing the pace and creating opportunities for his teammates.
You need a special skill to stick in the NBA and Pressey is an extraordinary passer with great court vision. I'm a sucker for passing point guards so I'm really hoping that he'll stick around for a number of years. It was a lot of fun watching him this year.
So who would you give the Rookie of the Year award to?