Avery Bradley is likely out for the rest of the Atlanta series. The Celtics will miss Bradley's elite defense, sure, but what sticks out the most is that Bradley is one of the only consistent three point shooters the Celtics have in their rotation. With Atlanta packing the paint, the Celtics need at least some semblance of outside shooting to keep the Hawks honest. You could make an argument that Kelly Olynyk, and not Jared Sullinger, should be starting at power forward for the Celtics against this particular Atlanta Hawks team. The Celtics desperately need someone to get the Atlanta bigs out of the paint and the need to spread the floor is exacerbated with Bradley out. Except...
Except Kelly Olynyk is hurt too. The Kelly Olynyk who hit over 40% of his three pointers this year.
Olynyk tweaked his existing shoulder injury. He sounds likely to play Tuesday. That was a rough Game 1 for Boston.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) April 17, 2016
Kelly Olynyk said that his right shoulder soreness is "basically the same" as the soreness that caused him to miss 12 games from 2/19-3/15.— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) April 17, 2016
Boston Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk will not participate in practice due to a sore right shoulder. Uncertain for Game 2.— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) April 18, 2016
Welp, that makes it tough. Kelly Olynyk needs to step up and hit some threes. If he's not able to take the floor tomorrow night, the Celtics are down to Jonas Jerebko (39.8%) and Isaiah Thomas (35.9%) for players who hit more than 35% of their threes. Only Jae Crowder (33.6%) and RJ Hunter (30.2%) hit above 30%. League average is 35.4%.
Against some teams, this isn't a huge issue. But with the Atlanta Hawks defensive scheme, it's a major problem.
While Marcus Smart or one of the rookies could get hot from deep, that's not going to change the way the Hawks defense is going to operate. But if Olynyk commands attention from Millsap and Horford, that opens up the lane for Thomas, Turner, and Crowder to get some points in the paint. That's a win-win for a Boston team that occasionally looks completely incapable of putting the ball in the basket.
Let's hope Kelly Olynyk is good to go and ready to fire away tomorrow night in Atlanta for Game 2.
Photo Credit Troy Taormina USA TODAY Sports Paul Colahan 4/18/2016 02:33:00 PM Tweet Edit