The title is a joke people.
Kelly Olynyk isn't Dirk Nowitzki, despite the fact that there are some resemblances in their games. It's an unfair comparison for Olynyk to be compared to one of the best players of this generation before he's played in a single pre-season game. No one in league history has has more of an unstoppable fadeaway than Nowitzki, and that shot has been what has turned Dirk into one of the 20 greatest scorers in league history.
But that doesn't mean we can't be excited about Olynyk. The rookie from Gonzaga went for 21 points, 9 boards and 4 assists today against Indiana, and is averaging 19.7 points per game through three games of summer league action this week in Orlando.
Now many people are quick to say, "It's summer league..it means nothing!" And just like with those who compare him to Dirk, I disagree. Listen, trying to analyze the stat lines from summer league action is definitely a tricky exercise. After all, Olynyk is going up against fellow rookies and veterans looking to win a job, not teams full of legitimate NBA talent. That's why instead of looking at how much he's scoring, look at how he's scoring. Pull up threes in transition. Baby hooks. Going up and under in the post and finishing with a scoop shot. Going coast-to-coast and finishing at the rim. Mid-range jumpers. These skills aren't going anywhere, and in general skill-sets do translate. Good shooters in summer league will be able to shoot in NBA games, just as guys with great post moves will many times be able to use them against elite competition.
As is usually the case, the truth in Olynyk-mania lies somewhere in between. If your expectations after three summer league games is that he's an All-Star, go take a long walk and cool down. But if you're quick to simply yell "Summer league games are useless!", especially if you're not actually watching the games, you're wrong. If Olynyk was simply volume scoring (taking a ton of shots to accumulate points), you'd be dead on. But he's shown immense skill on the offensive end. Skills that will absolutely help the Celtics this season.
Now let's get to a few of the other Celtics who played today. (Click to enlarge box score)
- Not sure what I can say about Fab Melo that I haven't said over the past two games. He's slow, moves awkwardly and looks unathletic on the court. I'm not trying to bury the guy, it's just he's playing against a ton of players that won't even make an NBA roster and he's showing legitimately zero skills that would help the team. He saw his least playing time today (16 minutes) and finished with 4 points, 1 rebound and 2 blocks.
- Tony Mitchell is an NBA athlete. He decided to leave Alabama a year early, and ended up going undrafted before playing last season in the NBDL, but the kid is really playing well and looks deserving of a training camp invite. He finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals, and played nearly 30 minutes. His extended playing time may indicate that the team is indeed intrigued by his play.
- Darius Johnson-Odom followed up his 23 point performance yesterday with a dud this afternoon. He finished with 4 points and a rebound in 23 minutes, the 2nd time in three games he's been held to five points or less.
- Phil Pressey can play some defense. He had three steals today to go along with 11 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds, and his on ball defense has been exceptional this week, especially considering his size (5'11"). The C's acted quickly after the draft to sign him, and it's been pretty apparent why in Orlando.
- Colton Iverson had 5 points and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes of action, his best game so far this week. The stats aren't there for Iverson, but the defense, size and effort have been. He's one of the faster seven footers you'll see, and a "grinder", not afraid to use his body one bit on both the glass, and on D. He honestly may break someone while boxing out by the time this week is over. His playing time did increase (from 13 minutes yesterday), but I'd really like to see him for 25-30 minutes the next two games.
- Uruguayan point guard Jayson Granger scored 9 points and dished out four assists today for the C's. Granger would appear to be a long shot to beat out Pressey, but he played his best game of the summer league thus far, helping to lead the Celts on an impressive 2nd quarter run.
- NBA TV continues to struggle with when to go to commercial. Twice in this game they lost their feed, one time for about 15 minutes when they sent their audience to MJ highlights (good), and then Heat highlights (bad), and another time randomly going to a commercial break during play in the 3rd quarter. I love the NBA, but if we're ranking the sports leagues channels, they're a distant 4th (MLB #1, NFL #2, NHL #3, NBA #4). Clean it up NBA TV, clean it up.
For those keeping score (and you really shouldn't be), the Celtics are now 2-1 in the summer league.
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For more of my articles, click here. Michael Dyer 7/09/2013 03:18:00 PM Tweet