Writing the word 'shines' in the headline of an article primarily dealing with the Boston Celtics may be a bit of a stretch. The historic franchise has had one of their worst seasons in history as they currently stand at 25-55 under first year coach Brad Stevens. That said, the play of Kelly Olynyk has been a revelation over the past several weeks. Like most rookies in the NBA, Olynyk has had his ups and downs throughout the season but his recent play, culminating with his 25 point effort on Saturday against Cleveland, has been stellar. As the Celtics continue to rebuild, it is quite clear that Olynyk is a guy they will lean on for years to come.
Brad Stevens has been sure to limit Olynyk's minutes in his rookie season but, as of late, he has unleashed him a bit more and it has paid off nicely. A quick look at Olynyk's minutes show Steven's tendencies as KO is averaging 19 mpg for the full season but over the last 10 games, that has risen to 22 mpg. In the month of April, that number has jumped up even further to 24 mpg. Kelly has made the most of his increased minutes, particularly this month, as he is averaging 13.5 points and 7 rebounds per contest. He's shooting a remarkable 53% from the floor, as well. Here's a full highlight tape of Kelly's big night against Cleveland on Saturday:
It would be short-sighted of me to not mention that a big reason for Kelly's surge is due to a chunk of Boston's active roster being out with injuries. Against Cleveland, and for a good majority of April, the Celtics have been reduced to eight players. That said, Olynyk sure has taken advantage of the time he has been given.
Olynyk still has plenty of room to improve defensively but if he can continue to be consistent offensively, he will be a much-needed Gonzaga success story in the NBA. While several other Bulldogs are in the league (Sacre, Daye, Turaif), Olynyk has the potential to be a long-term starter and impact player.