Kelly Olynyk showed some of the fantastic offensive potential he has Monday night in the Boston Celtics win in Philadelphia. Olynyk finished with 30 points on 12-17 shooting, including 3-5 from long distance.
Tyler Zeller got in early foul trouble and Olynyk got in the game at the 9:32 mark in the first quarter. He quickly got started on his career night. On his first bucket, Olynyk set a screen for Rondo, rolled hard and sealed off his man. Rondo swung the ball to Avery Bradley, who drove and dished to Olynyk for a tough and-1 finish. On the next possession down the floor, Sully got an o-board and passed it to Olynyk, and he threw down a rim-rattler.
Olynyk might not be Darryl Dawkins, but hey, two points is two points.
The real fun started at the 2:15 mark of the first quarter. Olynyk grabbed a defensive rebound, pushed the ball up the floor himself, and stopped on a dime and popped a three. On another night, Kelly might have slowed the ball and waited to give it to Evan Turner who was coming to set up the offense. That was not the case on Monday. Whether it was extra confidence from entering the game early or seeing a couple shots go in or even a pep talk from Tommy pregame, Olynyk was in a zone.
On the next play down, Olynyk showed great anticipation to get a steal and pushed the ball up the floor and tried for another stop and pop trey. He missed it, but the C's got the board and the ball quickly found it's way back to Olynyk, who promptly launched another bomb and drilled it.
Right before the quarter ended, the C's got a good push from Phil Pressey who found his buddy trailing the play for another three-ball, Olynyk's third in a little over two minutes. Olynyk's shooting motion is so smooth. He launched this deep trey so effortlessly, it was as if he was just taking a midrange jumper.
A 14-point first quarter on 5-7 shooting - off the bench. Not too shabby.
In the second quarter, Olynyk showed what could make him such a dangerous weapon in this league. He hit three of four threes in the first quarter, so Philly had to respect his shot from distance. Olynyk caught at the three-point line and took a one-dribble pull up and nailed that too. Off the dribble moves like that, especially when Olynyk's shot is falling, are so difficult for opposing big men to guard.
In the second half, Olynyk did more off his damage with off the ball cuts. He had a pretty cut leading to an acrobatic finish off a dish from Rondo. Next play down, he lulled his defender to sleep, then back cut for a slam off another assist from Rondo. Later on, he had a nice curl off a screen into a finger roll finish. To cap off his night, he faked a dribble hand off and pulled on a fade away jumper that was nothing but net. Olynyk's cuts and dribble moves are seemingly never at a high speed, but he regularly surprises his man and gets open or to the rim. He is the definition of deceptively quick.
On the season, Olynyk is shooting 51% from the field and 41% from three. After a rough stretch, he is now averaging 17 points per game over his last four outings. He certainly has a great shot and has proven time after time he has a solid game off the dribble as well. He just isn't as aggressive at all times as he could be, or maybe should be.
At the same time, it's easy as an onlooker to say a guy needs to be more confident and more aggressive. It's another for a second year player to do it night in and night out. Olynyk is very talented and has tools that not many 7-footers possess, but he is still only in his second year in the league. Having those tools isn't enough to succeed - it will take Olynyk time to learn when and how he can best use them to help the team. The coaches and even his teammates have been on him to be more aggressive, and as he matures, he will gain the confidence to know that whenever he tries to make a play, it will more often than not end well for the Celtics.
It's exciting to see Kelly flash his offensive potential. That pull up stop-on-a-dime three is a grown man shot. The one dribble pull up in transition could be lethal. Not to mention he is working on Dirk-style post moves that could really give opposing defenders fits.
At the same time, as fans, we have to accept the fact that at this stage of his career we won't see that whole repertoire every night like we did in Philadelphia. There will be growing pains, sure, but as he gets older, games like this one against the 76ers will become more and more commonplace for Kelly Olynyk.