Kelly Olynyk is actually a top-three center when driving to the rim
Stop me if you've witnessed this before - Kelly Olynyk, a great three-point shooter whenever his shoulder is cooperating, one step behind the three-point line, wide open.
Instead of shooting the open three he puts the ball down on the parquet floor, dribbles into the lane past a switching defender and either passes the ball or goes for a layup.
As Celtics fans we've seen this time and time again. Olynyk has been a constant headache for Celtics fans who wish he would be less of a rim attacker and a more willing long-range shooter.
But as it turns out, maybe those fans shouldn't be too upset. It's clear Olynyk has a knack for getting to the rim, but according to stats dug up by Mass Live's Tom Westerholm, he actually happens to be one of the best rim drivers in the league, among centers.
Olynyk drove to the rim 2.2 times per game last season and shot 45.1 percent on those drives. For reference only two centers attacked the rim more - DeMarcus Cousins 8.8 times a game, converting 43.4 percent of the time and Jhalil Okafor at 2.7 drives a game, making 53 percent of his shots.
Having two big men who can put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim, Olynyk and free-agent pickup Al Horford, will give coach Brad Stevens a level of offensive versatility he hasn't had yet in Boston.
When both players are on the floor together, Isaiah Thomas should see wide open shots more frequently. And let's not forget Avery Bradley and his spot on shoulder jumpers.
Again, it has to be noted that these numbers are slightly skewed due to Olynyk's persistent injuries. A healthy Olynyk could presumably near 55 percent shooting on drives.
But after offseason surgery that will likely force him to miss training camp and the start of the season, it's worth paying attention to Olynyk and whether or not he continues to drive to the rim as often as he does.
Photo credit: David Butler II - USA Today Sports
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