|Celtics, for the last time: Kelly Olynyk||10.29.13 at 9:21 am ET|
One of the most unpredictable Celtics seasons in recent memory begins Wednesday, and in order to determine the likelihood of each player reaching his full potential, we’ll be examining them individually in this year’s Green Street preview with one form of this question in mind: “When’s the last time ‘¦ ?” First up: Kelly Olynyk.
When’s the last time a middle-of-the-pack draft pick won NBA Rookie of the Year honors?
Overshadowed by their draft night agreement to send Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, the Celtics traded up to grab Kelly Olynyk in the No. 13 spot this past June, and the 7-footer has already been dubbed “the steal of the draft” in NBA.com’s annual survey of the league’s general managers.
Demonstrating an ability to run the floor and score both inside and out, Olynyk averaged 9.0 points (52.5 FG%), 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists during the preseason. But his defense isn’t quite so NBA ready. Quality bigs gave him the revolving door treatment, and his six personal fouls per 36 minutes is cause for concern.
Still, the lack of top-end talent in this year’s draft class combined with Olynyk’s early returns thrust the Gonzaga product onto a short list of potential Rookie of the Year candidates that includes heavy favorite Victor Oladipo.
Of the 64 players ever named NBA Rookie of the Year, only four were drafted in the double digits. The last to do so was Mark Jackson, who captured the award in 1987-88 when the Knicks selected him 18th. The others: Jamaal Wilkes (1974-75: Golden State Warriors, 11th), Woody Sauldsberry (1957-58: Philadelphia Warriors, 60th) and Don Meineke (1052-53: Fort Wayne Pistons, 12th). Amare Stoudemire, drafted ninth by the Suns in 2002-03, is the lowest draft pick of the 21st century to earn ROY. So, the next time you think about placing Olynyk in the NBA Rookie of the Year conversation, remember he’d have to be a real Woody Sauldsberry to do so.
|Stat man: More of this Celtics lineup, please||10.23.13 at 12:17 pm ET|
After Celtics coach Brad Stevens finally granted Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace extended playing time together, the media immediately jumped on its perceived success following Sunday’s preseason loss to the Timberwolves.
‘I’d have to look at the overall numbers on it, but I thought we were pretty good in that stretch — both in the first and second half,” Stevens told reporters in the immediate aftermath. ‘We played them together some in the first half, when we played big on the wings, and we played them some together at the start of the second half. It’s probably a 10- or 12-minute clip of that. And, based on how it went tonight, I would say that you’ll probably see that again.”
It was actually a 14:34 clip of the highly anticipated Green-Wallace combo, and it started wonderfully. The two combined for 14 points on 5-for-5 shooting over a 4:23 stretch in the first quarter, adding two assists, two rebounds, a steal and a block during a span that trimmed Minnesota’s lead from 11 to four.
Beyond that? Not so much. They combined for a total of 8:11 during the second and fourth quarters, scoring seven points on 1-of-7 shooting to go along with three boards, two assists, two turnovers and a steal for a minus-2 rating.
|NBA GMs: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce trade a good idea||10.22.13 at 3:03 pm ET|
For the 12th straight preseason, the NBA surveyed all 30 general managers. Here are the Celtics-related results.
- While the Celtics-Nets trade tied with Golden State’s sign-and-trade acquisition of Andre Iguodala as the most surprising summer story lines, the C’s were among six teams receiving votes for “best overall moves.”
- A quarter of responding GMs believe Kelly Olynyk is the draft’s biggest steal — ahead of Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel, Steven Adams, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Trey Burke. Likewise, 6.7 percent of the respondents think the Celtics rookie will be the draft’s best player in 2018. Only Victor Oladipo (40.0%), Cody Zeller (13.3%), Anthony Bennett (10.0%) and McLemore (10.0%) received more votes.
- Based on the GM votes, Avery Bradley, Kawhi Leonard and Iguodala are tied for the league’s fourth-best perimeter defense, trailing only Tony Allen, LeBron James and Paul George.
- Voters slot Rajon Rondo and Ricky Rubio second behind Chris Paul on the “best passer” scale. Paul also has the game’s best IQ, per votes, ahead of Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, LeBron, Kobe Bryant and Rondo.
‘I thought they made a great move because Garnett and Pierce only have another year or two of premium basketball left,’ he told the Boston Herald. ‘[Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] just pulled the plug while they still had something. It was inevitable. And, besides, I like the fact that when he moved them, he sent them to a contender. I really like that. Granted, they’re in the same division, but still I really like that it showed how he felt about Paul and Garnett. I like that.
‘As a player, you’re thinking, if you’re going to move me, at least send me somewhere where I can win a championship.’
|Kelly Olynyk doesn’t have a fork, shower curtain||10.04.13 at 3:35 pm ET|
Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk is keeping a diary for Comcast (h/t Celtics Life). In his first entry, we learn the young Canadian who Danny Ainge once called “a 7-foot hippy quarterback” doesn’t have a fork or a shower curtain.
“I’m basically starting from scratch out here. I don’t really know anyone, don’t have anything to my name out here, don’t even have a fork!
“I had to go and get everything, and I still need more. Sometimes I’ll be in my apartment and go to do something, and I’ll be like, ‘I don’t have a shower curtain! I have to take a bath?’ So I get in my car and drive to the practice facility and take a shower.”
|Living the very un-NBA life that is the Orlando Summer League||07.13.13 at 11:24 am ET|
ORLANDO — There is no glamor in this.
The Orlando Summer Pro League is the player’s equivalent of a physical exam. It’s sterile. Clinical. Sometimes, it’s uncomfortable.
A few dozen young men, many of whom just met, assemble at what must feel like an ungodly hour to perform for the assembled coaches, executives, scouts, agents, and media. For many, it’s a first taste of life as a pro. For some, it’s another in a line of chances to prove they are worthy of an invitation to training camp. For a few, it’s a mandated appearance to hone a skill, or work on something new.
The players are fully exposed on the court. Every squeak of sneakers, every slap of a foul, every curse after a missed shot is heard quite plainly by just about everyone. With no more than three rows of seating surrounding the court, expressions are clearly visible, even winces from coaches who clearly expected something different from a play.
Yes, the environment during these games can be unforgiving.
But most of these guys love it.
‘I’m really having fun out there and having fun with my team,’ said first-round pick (and summer league star) Kelly Olynyk. ‘It’s a great group of guys, a great group of coaches, very encouraging.’
Strip away all the ancillary stuff like crowds and a PA announcer, and what these guys have been doing out there all week is simply playing basketball. For the purists who want to hear and see every little bit of detail, this is a little slice of bliss.
‘It’s been great,’ new C’s coach Brad Stevens told me this week. ‘I’ve been able to get to the gym and sit, and listen, and talk, and evaluate and then I can go back to my room and work. So it’s been a great balance.’
|Celtics wrap up Summer League with a win and a seventh-place finish||07.12.13 at 6:39 pm ET|
Behind 14 points from Tony Mitchell and 12 apiece from Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson, the Celtics raced out to a 29-point lead and blew out the host Orlando Magic, 102-83, on Friday afternoon to capture the seventh-place game in the the Orlando Summer League series at Amway Center.
Olynyk, Boston’s first-round pick in this year’s draft, finished the week averaging 18.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, finishing as one of the most impressive young players in the tournament that features first and second-year talent and rookie free agents.
The Celtics, who finished their week in central Florida at 3-2, were blazing hot in the first half, scoring 61 points in the 20-minute first-half. The Celtics connected on 57.1 percent of its field goals and 58.3 percent of their 3-pointers in the first half.
Leading the way in the first half was Lawrence Hill, with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. He hit three of his five 3-point attempts in the half. Olynyk and Omar Reed also chipped in 10 points apiece in the first half while Boston left Orlando in the dust.
Boston pulled ahead by as many as 29 points early in the third after a 7-0 run to start the second half. That spurt was highlighted by a nice and-one hook shot by Fab Melo, who finished the game with 11 points and five rebounds in less than 18 minutes of action.
Orlando trimmed Boston’s lead down to 81-69 with 7:47 remaining in the game. The Celtics, however, responded by scoring 14 of the game’s next 18 points, building their lead back to 95-74 with three minutes left.
Seven Celtics scored in double-figures. Mitchell led the team with 14 points, while Olynyk and Iverson each poured in 12. Phil Pressey was the only Boston starter who failed to score at least 10 points finishing with seven but earned his second straight game of double-digit assists with 10.
|Brad Stevens on D&C: Rajon Rondo ‘really, really intelligent, insightful,’ will be a Celtics leader||at 10:43 am ET|
Brad Stevens joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and the new Celtics coach made sure to clear up a couple of big question marks about the organization moving forward: Yes, he expects Rajon Rondo to be on the team, and yes, he expects the point guard to be one of the leaders.
Stevens has spent much of the last week meeting with members of the organization — both staff and players — and Rondo is no exception. The two met up in Louisville, Ky., when Stevens made the two-hour drive from Indianapolis.
Aside from giving a quick talk at Rondo’s youth basketball camp, Stevens spent some time getting to know his point guard.
‘I just enjoyed spending time with him, asking him questions about not only his time with the Celtics but his time before,’ Stevens said. ‘I found him to be really, really intelligent, really, really insightful. I thought he had great ideas. I’m really looking forward to working with him.
‘I think [Rondo is] eager for that challenge [to be the leader] and I’m looking forward to that. I’ve talked to a lot of guys that are on this team already, and I think we have a good, young group that has been great to me. They seem eager, they seem excited, and they all speak very highly of playing with him.’
Another one of the players Stevens spoke with during his time in Orlando — where he watched some summer league action — is first-round draft pick Kelly Olynyk, who has gotten plenty of headlines during his first taste of professional action.
While Stevens was wary of putting grand expectations on the 22-year-old, he is expecting big things.
‘I sat down with him the other day, and I just told him, a lot of people will use their rookie year or their second year or their third year as an excuse for not being the best that they can be because they have this transition/grace period. And then there’s other guys that make the All-Rookie team. And I think that certainly should be a goal, and he’s certainly capable,” Stevens said.
‘He’s a very good player, he’s a very skilled player. He has a great feel for the game, and I just like him. I like him as a person. He’s a very driven young man, so I’m looking forward to coaching him.’
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