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The Read & React: KO-factor

Could Kelly Olynyk be a major x-factor heading into the playoffs?

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Go big (Bill Sy): Kelly Olynyk has been paired with Jonas Jerebko in the front court coming off the bench. Together, they’re a +1.5 NetRtg (103.8 OffRtg, 102.3 DefRtg). Yesterday, we saw long stretches with KO paired with both big starters, Al Horford and Amir Johnson. For the season, whenever Olynyk’s played with them, the results have been what you might expect. With Horford, they’re dynamic offensively (107.9 OffRtg), but not great defensively (107.3 DefRtg). With Johnson, they’re limited on offense (99.2 OffRtg), but stout on defense (97.3 DefRtg).

As the Celtics finish off the balance of the season, I’d love to see Olynyk play more with the starters like he did vs. the Bulls. Per Brad Stevens, it was a decision based on match ups:

However, as rotations shorten and games slow down in the playoffs, it might be something that Stevens might want to do more often rather than playing small ball. With fifteen games to go, it would be great to get as many reps for Olynyk as possible mixed in with the starters.

During the 15-0 run that beat the Warriors last Wednesday, KO either scored or assisted on 8 of those points, wreaking havoc cutting or driving the ball from behind the arc. Yesterday, I went over some of Olynyk’s numbers and how they’re directly related to the Celtics success:

When Olynyk scores 10+ points in a game, the Celtics are a sparkling 20-4. Furthermore, per Basketball-Reference using John Hollinger’s GmScr ratings, if Olynyk doesn’t have a positive GmScr, the Celtics are 1-6; two of those losses were on Boston’s last west coast trip. They’re 10-12 if he doesn’t have a GmScr over +5.

Versus Chicago, Olynyk was great playing point forward above the break. He had a modest 11/9/3 in the blowout, but it was the variety of his attack that, like always, makes Olynyk an intriguing x-factor in any game and hopefully, in any playoff series.