24-year-old Toronto native Kelly Olynyk was at the Air Canada Center working out with Team Canada recently as they prepare for the FIBA Americas later this month, however, even being home and playing for his National team couldn’t take his mind off of his situation in Boston. With too many Celtics big men and not enough minutes to go around, Olynyk was feeling the trade winds.
“You can get traded you know, any day,” Olynyk said. “You just got there and it’s hard to, I wouldn’t say it’s hard to, it’s different to really feel attached to one place in the NBA if you get bounced around. Canada you know, they can’t trade me to Germany.”
Last season Olynyk lost the starting center job to Tyler Zeller after only 13 games. This summer the Celtics added 6’10 free agent forward Jonas Jerebko and veteran free agent power forward/center Amir Johnson. Then Boston traded for 6’11 forward Perry Jones III and two-time All-Star power forward David Lee. These moves must have both Jared Sullinger and Olynyk wondering what the future holds for them.
Olynyk, the 13th pick in 2013, was acquired by the Celtics from the Mavericks for the draft rights to Lucas Nogueira. The 7′ 234 lb Gonzaga junior showed potential as a playmaking stretch-five and his NBA potential remains intriguing. In his two seasons with Boston, he has shot 35 percent from three-point range and averaged 9.4 points, 5 rebounds and 21.1 minutes. Boston.com’s Jeremy Gottlieb describes him as,
He’s a really nice player, a unique talent with a multi-faceted game. Guys his height who can shoot, pass and handle the ball like he can aren’t terribly easy to find. Under the proper circumstances, he has the skills and the upside to develop into a valuable, versatile weapon for a team with a creative, potent offensive system.
Jeff Clark on Celtics Blog completes the picture,
Kelly Olynyk is a modern, face-up, stretch 4 with a lot of talents. At his best he’s hitting shots from deep, driving into the lane for easy buckets, and displaying deft passing instincts. At his worst he’s a deer in headlights afraid to shoot the ball and ineffective on either end of the floor.
It was a tale of two halves for Olynyk in his second season with Boston. Olynyk started the year 20 lbs lighter than the season before and that was a huge misstep as he was slotted in as the starting center. However, he was still showing signs of improvement prior to a serious ankle injury in January that cost him 18 games. For those first two months of the season, he was averaging 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 25.8 minutes and shooting 38.2 percent from three-point range. In March and April, those numbers dropped to 8.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 18.5 minutes and 34.2 percent from deep.
Olynyk told Jay King on Masslive.com that he won’t repeat last summer’s mistake.
Last year, Olynyk said he lost about 20 pounds over the offseason. This summer, he is working out with a different focus.
“Just build as much strength and mobility as possible,” he said. “Staying as agile and mobile as you can while continuing to gain strength. And I think that’s the biggest thing: becoming more athletic every single year.”
After losing his starting job last November and then having a rough second half to season following a severe ankle injury, Olynyk can’t help but notice all of the big men the Celtics have added this summer and wonder – out loud – if he’ll still be in Boston much longer.
“He is our starting point guard,” Triano confirmed. “He is the guy we are going to lean on to run this team. He did a great job for us last year when we were overseas playing 11 (exhibition) games in Europe. He understands the international game better. He is getting better. He is a big part of what we are doing and we expect a lot. We expect him to be the floor general.”