How quickly things can change in the NBA. On Draft night many fans were left questioning Danny Ainge’s decision to trade up for Kelly Olynyk. Celtics’ fans are now wondering if they got the steal of the Draft after Olynyk’s summer league performance.
Olynyk averaged 18 points and 7.8 rebounds during the five games, including an eye-opening 25 points in his first game against the Orlando Magic.
His impressive numbers earned him the honor of All-Orlando Summer League Team. He was joined by Terrence Jones, Jeremy Lamb, Victor Oladipo, and Andre Drummond.
Olynyk showed his unique skill-set as a 7-footer throughout the week. One of the more memorable plays of summer league was Olynyk grabbing a defensive rebound, dribbling it the entire way up the court before using a jump-stop at the bucket and laying it in over a defender.
He consistently displayed the ability to knock down perimeter jumpers. When defenders closed out too hard for fear of him shooting, he would put the ball on the floor and attack the basket.
Fairly or unfairly, Olynyk started to earn the reputation as the Dirk Nowitzki of summer league.
Before becoming a Hall-of-Famer though, Olynyk will first need to crack the starting lineup. While there are others who stand ahead of him at this point, it’s not out of the question for the rookie to find himself starting.
Jared Sullinger is still recovering from back surgery, and neither Brandon Bass or Kris Humphries are guaranteed to be on the opening night roster. If Olynyk can carry his strong summer league play into training camp and the preseason, the Celtics may have a new starting power forward.
With Brad Stevens now at the helm, he may feel comfortable shaking things up and starting a rookie. Even if he begins his career off the bench, he should still see significant minutes on a nightly basis.
For now, Celtics’ fans should keep their expectations tempered, but it’s hard not to be excited at the first glimpses of Kelly
Notwitzki Olynyk as a Celtic.