Sports Out West

Celtics Rookie Kelly Olynyk impressive in Summer League

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Gonzaga University redshirt turned superstar player, Kelly Olynyk completed his Summer League stint with the Boston Celtics last week.  His strong showing in Orlando quickly propelled him to the top of the NBA Rookie Ladder.  His offensive displays silenced critics and his demeanor and work ethic impressed teammates and reporters alike.

 

Game 1:

The 13th overall pick dazzled in his Summer League debut, netting 25 points on 9-12 shooting with seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals in a 95-88 loss to the Orlando Magic.  He also sunk two 3-point attempts exhibiting his range.  Following his debut performance, the Celtics signed Olynyk to a rookie contract.  Deals of the contract have not been released, but it is assumed to be around the $2 million mark.

 

Game 2:

Olynyk continued to showcase his offensive artillery in game 2 versus the Detroit Pistons.  In a 93-63 blowout win for the Celtics, Olynyk scored 13 points in just 21 minutes.  He added six rebounds, three assists, five steals and one block to his stat sheet, while committing just one turnover and three fouls. 

 

Game 3:

In a narrow victory on Game 3 versus the Indiana Pacers, Olynyk continued to impress with 21 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and one block in 30 minutes of play. 

 

Game 4:

Olynyk recorded the first Double-Double of Summer League in Game 4 versus the Houston Rockets with 19 points and 10 rebounds.  He also finished with two assists and two steals in 28 minutes of play.

 

Game 5:

With another strong effort, Olynyk wrapped up Summer League play in Game 5 with 12 points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes.  He had one assist and just one turnover to round out his stat sheet. 

 

His impressive performance in the Orlando Summer League swiftly won over new head coach Brad Stevens, and the Celtics Summer League coach, Jay Larranaga:

“He did so many things that would be a tough matchup at a big position,” Stevens said. “I really like his game. He’s really bright, you can tell he makes others around him better. I thought he did some good things defensively as well. He’s going to be a good player.”

“He can shoot, he can pass, he can dribble,” said Larranaga. “He plays defensively, he talks; maybe one of his greatest strengths is how well he talks the game and stays connected to his teammates.”

The shaggy haired Olynyk also won over his teammate, Jeff Green last week,

“I think we need to talk about this summer league game we’re about to have, and the way Kelly’s been playing. Kelly’s been playing awesome. His nickname’s going to be Sunshine for me, from Remember the Titans. But I think he’s been playing well. I didn’t know, I didn’t get to watch him a lot at Gonzaga, but he has great footwork, I didn’t know he could shoot the ball like he can. But he’s really impressed me and I’m looking forward to playing with him.”

And the ultimate sign of respect came from last season’s Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard who tweeted, “Kelly Olynyk nice tho.”

 

It may have just been Summer League, but Kelly Olynyk made a strong impression across the NBA.  His offense flowed and his basketball IQ translated to easy assists.  Olynyk still needs to work on his defense and his fouls as he committed 21 fouls in the five games in Orlando.   His progression will be exciting to watch this season.    

 

Photo Credit:   SD Dirk/Flickr

 

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Brianna Brooks

Brianna Brooks is a freelance journalist from Washington state currently living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has written for Yahoo! Sports as well as Zagaholic.com, a blog site dedicated to Gonzaga University basketball. Although knowledgeable about many sports (college basketball, NFL, MLB, and horse racing) her true passion lies with the Gonzaga Bulldogs.