Quantifying how Much the Celtics' Bench has Missed Olynyk is an Inexact Science

The Boston Celtics have a favorable schedule and only have to play two games in the next nine days. Having these many days off at this point of the season is very rare, but the Celtics will take advantage of it and get some much-needed rest before the final stretch of the regular season. The time off will also make the Celtics online NBA sportsbook favorites to win the two games during the nine-day stretch.

Having so many days between games is a fortunate thing for Boston because some of the other teams in the league have to deal with back-to-back games or play three games in four days during the stretch run of the season.

Last season, Boston could have benefitted from having so much time off at the end of the season because it would have helped the team integrate the late season additions to the roster, giving them more time to get used to playing together.

Since the Celtics roster has been together all year long, the team will likely use this time for additional practice and give injured players some much-needed rest.

One of the injured players that will benefit the most from this time off is Kelly Olynyk, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since February 10.

The time off will allow Olynyk to slowly work his way back into the lineup. Last week, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Olynyk would be evaluated on Monday and would be able to increase his basketball activities if the team doctors see significant improvement in his shoulder.

In Olynyk’s absence, the Celtics second unit did its best to make up for his absence. Jonas Jerebko and Tyler Zeller were given the task of replacing Olynyk in the lineup, a task Stevens admitted wasn’t easy.

In an interview, Stevens said, “Any time you lose a guy, early on you kind of mask it, and then you have to figure out how you mask it and move forward the longer it extends."

Stevens also noted that having Olynyk in the lineup gave the Celtics the option of having five shooters on the floor, making the defenses job more difficult.

According to statistics, Olynyk has the best rating on the Celtics with +6.4 points per 100 possessions. Defensively, the Celtics are 5.7 points better per 100 possessions when Olynyk plays.

While it is difficult to quantify how much the Celtics miss Olynyk, especially since the second team has played well in his absence, statistics show that Boston is a better team with Olynyk in the lineup than when he is not.

With five weeks left in the regular season, the Celtics are hoping that the downtime in their schedule will give Olynyk more time to recover from his injury so they can get him back on the court in time for the playoffs. Although the team would rather have him back in the lineup before the start of the playoffs so he can work off the rust from not playing in over a month.

Despite the injury to Olynyk and Marcus Smart missing a month with his own injury, the Celtics have been healthy for most of the season and they will be hoping to be at full strength when the playoffs start in April.