Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Celtics summer league analysis: Olynyk good, Melo bad

I was not very pleased when the Celtics chose Kelly Olynyk with the 13th pick in the draft last month, especially considering they traded up to get him.  But I have to admit I never actually saw him play before, and through three games at the Orlando Pro Summer League I am very impressed.

First off I want to say that it's important not to read too much into exhibition games made up primarily of guys who will never even play in the NBA.  But it's definitely better competition than college, and the skills that Olynyk has displayed have taken me by surprise.  He plays like a small forward, but he happens to be 7 feet tall.  He hits three pointers.  He can dribble a little bit.  The easy comparison to make is that he looks like Dirk Nowitzki (I'm not saying he is like Dirk) with his post moves and one legged fallaway jumpers.

So far Olynyk is averaging 19.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 56% (and 43% on three pointers).  Also, these games are only 40 minutes long, so those numbers project to 23.7, 8.8, and 3.6 over a full length NBA contest.  Yes, it's a very small and mostly insignificant sample, but the results are still encouraging.

On the other hand, last year's first round pick Fab Melo looks terrible, as if he doesn't even really understand basketball.  I almost think he's regressed as a player since Boston drafted him.  His minutes per game have fallen from 28 to 19 to 16, and today he didn't even start.  Melo is averaging just 6.3 points and 4 rebounds, and at this point it's hard to envision him ever becoming an effective NBA player.


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