5 years ago1,000+ Views
BY JONATHAN WASSERMAN If you didn't know any better, you'd think Kelly Olynyk was a seasoned NBA veteran toying with inferior competition at the Orlando Summer League. Olynyk, the No. 13 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, averaged 18 points and 7.8 rebounds on 57 percent shooting in five games. He was the best player on the floor for just about every moment he graced it. Olynyk showed that his offensive skill set is far more advanced than any other big man at the event. Here's a look at how Olynyk's offensive versatility allows him to be in scoring position whenever he has the ball. Recognizing Scoring Opportunities, Ability to Execute Big men out of college typically let their scoring opportunities come to them instead of the other way around. Most need to be set up, either with deep position down low or for an easy catch and finish. But Olynyk's ability to recognize a scoring opportunity and convert under unfamiliar circumstances—without having to be set up—makes him an offensive threat regardless of his positioning. Below, Olynyk is working the post, though there's a help defender behind his man waiting to step up if Olynyk spins baseline or into the lane. Olynyk recognizes the help, but he's also aware that his defender's hands are down. He quickly rises to fire over his man for an uncontested jumper. Many big men would have tried to recklessly put the ball on the floor to get closer to the rim. But Olynyk saw a more balanced scoring opportunity, and his skill set allowed him to convert it into points. Counter Offense Olynyk isn't the fastest, quickest or slickest athlete on the floor. He's not going to shake anyone out of their boots or sky above them for a slam. However, he's got a remarkable feel for the defense's positioning and understands how to get off the best possible shot. Counter offense is the ability to score after the defense has taken away your first look. Below, you'll see Olynyk working the high post with his back to the rim. He quickly realizes that if he turns left, he'll spin right into traffic. But to the right, there's space for him to operate if he's able to recognize, adjust and separate. Olynyk has a ridiculous amount of shots he can make in his offensive arsenal. Take away his first look and he'll hit you with something unexpected. He adapts on the fly. He's always completely under the control, which makes the counter move easy to execute. Most stretch or perimeter-oriented big men are one-dimensional. If they don't have the room to cleanly catch and shoot, chances are they're passing it off. Watch how composed Olynyk is after receiving the ball as a spot-up target. He calmly catches, throws a pump fake at the closing defender, takes a dribble and comfortably pulls up. This is a pro move that requires recognition, poise and skills. Olynyk has a number of countermoves in the post that make him tough to cover one-on-one in space. With room to operate, Olynyk hits his defender with three moves before finally wiggling free for an easy up-and-under scoop. His footwork is textbook. Olynyk knows exactly what steps he needs to take in order to create some separation and get the best possible look on that particular touch. Watch him go to work with the up-and-under from the other side. He really uses his pivot foot effectively when working with his back to the basket. These are all countermoves that Olynyk uses to help neutralize his lack of above-the-rim explosiveness, a quality that usually results in easy buckets. Pick-and-Pop I wouldn't call Olynyk a three-pointer shooter, but he's certainly capable of threatening a defense from behind the arc. He's got a smooth, clean catch and release with NBA range. He only shot 3-of-13 from downtown during summer league play, but the pick-and-pop game is clearly in his future as he continues to develop his offensive skill set. Overall, Olynyk has an incredibly diverse offensive arsenal for a 7-footer and it should allow him to contribute to the Celtics from day one of the regular season. Between his size, basketball IQ and talent, he's got a chance to start right away and compete for Rookie of the Year. You have to take his production in Orlando with a grain of salt, considering the competition he's facing is the bottom of the NBA's barrel. Nevertheless, there's no doubt this kid is going to make it. He may not have All-Star upside, but Olynyk should be a serviceable big man and quality asset for a long, long time.