Kelly Olynyk needs to step up in a big way if he wants to get a big pay day
The Boston Celtics have one of the most unique weapons in the league in Kelly Olynyk. The stretch five had established himself as a top three point shooter, and one of the best offensive weapons on the team. With his contract up after this season, Olynyk was expected to take an extra step this year. With more playmaking and solid defense to go along with his knockdown shooting, Olynyk would have been in line for a huge pay day, with or without the Celtics.
Unfortunately, this season has not gone as planned so far. After missing he beginning of the season with an injury, Olynyk still is yet to return to his form form last season. His shooting percentages have gone down, his playmaking has remained limited to making room with a solid shot fake, and he has done nothing to help one of the worst rebounding teams in the league.
Boston’s front court depth is almost non-existent after Olynyk, and yet he is still making himself look expendable this season. If Olynyk stays on this path, then he will have no chance of commanding the kind of contract that may have been expected coming into this season, and there is no guarantee that the Celtics will want to bring him back with two young bigs stashed overseas right now.
Olynyk continues to be one of the stronger three point shooters on the team, but he is no longer as exceptional as he was last year. Olynyk separated himself from he rest of the team, and that kind of shooting was irreplaceable on a team that was awful from three point range. The Celtics still struggle to shoot the ball, but Olynyk’s impact has not been changing things for them. He is losing some of the reliability, and is showing minimal signs of being a game changing player on either end.
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Of course, there is still plenty of time for Olynyk to put things together. He has proven that he can be a better shooter multiple times in the past, but getting back around 40 percent from three will not be enough to earn him that lucrative contract. Going into this season Olynyk was expected to improve if he wanted that big pay raise, and it is a bad sign that Olynyk still needs to get back to where he was last year, before taking that extra step that was expected.
Olynyk is coming off arguably his best game of the season against the Knicks, and that is a great place to build from. The Celtics absolutely need reliability from Olynyk, and they need him to be a matchup problem on the second unit.
Olynyk needs to assert himself on offense and force defenses to adjust to him. Improving the play making and defense can be addressed in the future. Right now, he needs to get back to being one of the best shooters on the team. He missed just two shots with 16 points against the Knicks, and that is exactly the kind of efficiency they need out of him.
Olynyk will never be one of the team leaders in minutes, but Stevens uses his bench more than almost anyone else in the league. Olynyk still has a lot of room to grow in his role, but that will only happen is the results start coming on the court.
Olynyk is in danger of fading further and further into the back ground. Fortunately for him, there is little front court competition on that second unit, and that has earned him over 20 minutes per game this season. The Celtics will continue to give Olynyk the opportunities but it is time for him to start taking better advantage of them.
Olynyk still has an opportunity to be a solid piece of this team for the foreseeable future, and he still has an opportunity to get that big pay raise that he has his sights set on coming into this season. Unfortunately, what he has done so far will get him none of that.
The Celtics need to improve as a shooting team and Olynyk may have more room to improve than anyone else. Olynyk established himself as a 40 percent three point shooter and he was able to maintain that for more than just a fluke amount of time. If Olynyk cannot return to that level of shooting, however, he loses the one edge he had. Olynyk loses almost all his importance if he cannot be a top three point shooter on the team, and there will be little sense in resigning him if they do not have complete trust in his three point shot.