Any sensible NBA fan, even the strongest "green-teamers" as some would label us, quickly realized when we first saw Kelly Olynyk take the court for the Celtics that he wasn't Dirk Nowitzki. He has shown potential, has had flashes of greatness, and captured imaginations of what his upside could possibly be. But nobody really think's he'll ever be Dirk.
That is, nobody besides Tommy Heinsohn.
In the wake of Olynyk's 13-point 2nd quarter surge that helped propel the C's to a blowout win over the Suns on Friday night, Tommy was at it again with the hyperbole saying Kelly has, "the potential to be better than Dirk Nowitzki."
Of course, Nowitzki was asked by Tim MacMahon about the bold comparison in the aftermath of the Mavericks' 118-113 win over the Celtics and the future hall of famer did the best he could to hide how absurd he thought it was:
Yeah, I mean, I like the kid. I'm just not sure about all that. But I really do like him. He's a good shooter. He's improved from year to year, so I do wish him the best. He can be a really good player, but I don't know if his ceiling is all the way up there...he's got a long way to go.
Dirk really didn't even need to say anything about Olynyk, because the outcome of the game spoke for itself if we're discussing Olynyk's candidacy of becoming Nowitszki-esqe. A 37-year-old Dirk put up 31 points and 11 rebounds in the win, including the corner three-pointer in overtime that iced the game, and made it look like it was all in a days work.
Olynyk, meanwhile, had an amazing game by his standards. 6-11 shooting, 17 points, 5 rebounds; I think any Celtics fan would be satisfied with those results nightly from him. But it still doesn't stack up to the legendary Mavs' power forward, even in the back-end of his career.
When Olynyk scores 27,000 more points, we can start talking about him and Dirk in the same sentence, but for now he's just a fly landing on his back that the legend has to respectfully shoo away without looking too cruel.