When Kelly Olynyk was drafted by the Celtics in 2013, there was a lot of anticipation and speculation regarding how well his style of play would fit in the NBA.
Thanks to a seven inch growth spurt in high school that turned him from a point guard to a big man over the course of two years, he was best described as a guard trapped in a power forward/center's body. Whether or not his unique skill-set would translate into a successful NBA career was up for debate.
After watching him his rookie year in 2013-14, his raw talent told me he could potentially be an All-Star a few years down the road, but his defense and rebounding still needed a lot of work as well as his confidence on the offensive end.
His second year was much of the same. He was a talented ball-handler and passer with the ability to shoot the three. He continued to be timid in the paint, which is definitely not recommended if you're a seven footer in the NBA.
The biggest step forward in Olynyk's young career appears to have come this season.
Offensively, he's become more versatile. His steady improvements in his three-point shooting have forced teams to close out on him, allowing him to utilize his pump-fake and get to the rim.
We're in late December and Olynyk already has half as many dunks (5) as he had his entire rookie season (10).
He shot 35.1% from three his rookie year, 34.9% last year, and has leaped to 38.9% in his third season.
In the last six games, KO is shooting an impressive 60% from beyond the arc.
According to Kelly, his improvements are not only a result of perfecting his outside shot but also working hard on his conditioning:
“I think I’ve cut a little bit of weight down just to be able to stay mobile, stay agile, move and get to the basket quicker,” he said. “You want to stay as strong as you can, as lean as you can.”
Although I don't have the stats to back this up, I'm pretty sure he's also been much more effective since deciding to rock a man bun a few weeks ago. It had to have been hard for him to play to his full potential with his hair flopping all over the place.
Follow Jack Bardsley on Twitter @BostonsBigFour
Photo Credit: Kent Smith/Getty Images via CBC Sports Jack Bardsley 12/29/2015 11:51:00 PM Tweet Edit