Minnesota Timberwolves 2013 NBA Draft Player Profile - Kelly Olynyk
  • Tony Snell
  • Tony Snell
  • Kelly Olynyk
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Alex Len
  • Ricky Ledo
  • Ben McLemore
  • C.J. McCollum
  • Rudy Gobert
  • Jeff Withey
  • Shabazz Muhammad
  • Cody Zeller
  • Glen Rice, Jr.

Article

Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk

GONZAGA
Year: Junior
Position: Center
Height: 7-foot-0
Weight: 238 lbs.
Editor’s Note: Throughout the month of June, Timberwolves.com will profile a series of prospects that could be available at Minnesota’s No. 9 or 26 picks, or if they choose to move up during the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27. Part XII focuses on Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk, a 7-foot prospect who impressed Wolves brass with his ability to pass and shoot.



Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

Mock Draft Projections: 1st round, picks 11 through 22

2012-13 Season: 17.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.1 BPG, 0.7 SPG, .629 FG%, .300 3FG%, .776 FT%
2010-11 Season: 5.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.1 BPG, .574 FG%, .444 3FG%, .618 FT%
2009-10 Season: 5.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.1 BPG, .574 FG%, .444 3FG%, .618 FT%

At Gonzaga, he often put on enough of a performance that his play was called the “Olynyk Clinic.” Well deserved based on his production last season, and that body of work is a big reason why center Kelly Olynyk is in the position he’s in leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft.

Without having the 2012-13 season under his belt, he questions whether or not he would be talking to NBA teams right now.

“It was huge,” Olynyk said. “I’m not sure I would have been drafted coming out as a freshman or sophomore. A wise decision to stay. Also, I took that redshirt year and that really helped my body and develop my game and get my body and game mentally and physically where it needed to be.”

The British Columbia native played his first two years at Gonzaga with underwhelming results, largely due to his body transforming into the 7-foot frame you see today. Once a perimeter player, Olynyk underwent a seven-inch growth spurt that sent him to the front court a little before his body was ready to adjust. He spent a year red-shirting to help build muscle, add to his game and prepare for more minutes once NBA-bound Robert Sacre departed, and in the end it was a wise decision.

Now, Olynyk has the shooting touch and ball handling of a guard while playing like a center.


"For bigs, one of the most skilled with the ball, being able to handle the ball pass the ball, shoot the ball,” Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders said. “It's just being comfortable with the ball, able to throw a high low pass and the other thing was, with him, what's shocking, he measured in bare feet at 6'11 which is big. I thought he'd measure at 6'10, so basically with shoes on he's over seven foot."

Olynyk made tremendous strides as a junior, becoming and efficient scorer for a Bulldogs squad who spent part of the year atop the college basketball rankings and earned No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament—both firsts in school history.

Now, Olynyk is looking to make the jump to the NBA and is projected to land somewhere in the middle third of the first round. He’s not as productive defensively (“I wouldn’t say I’m the best shot blocker in the Draft by any means,” he said), but he makes up for that with his basketball IQ. He also has an innate ability to score, which does set him apart from most bigs in this year’s class.

STRENGTHS

Of all the bigs in this year’s draft checking in at 7-foot or taller, Olynyk really stands alone when it comes to making an impact right away on the offensive end. Most other centers projected in the first round are rim protectors, defensive-oriented thinkers or long-term projects. Olynyk, on the other hand, has the right tools to fit in offensively pretty quickly. He averaged 17.8 points per game in his last year with the Zags, shooting 62.9 percent from the floor while showcasing diversity in his shot. He was incredibly efficient at the basket, but he can also hit consistently in his mid-range and even step out to 3-point range (25-for-75 career at Gonzaga). That diverse skill set comes in part from growing up playing more perimeter-style ball before moving to the front court. He has experience running the pick-and-roll, can run the floor and can also operate with his back to the basket.

WEAKNESSES

The opposite side to Olynyk’s game is his ability to impact a game defensively. Even with his 7-foot frame, he admits he’s not a shot blocker (1.1 BPG during his final year at Gonzaga) and often shows less than stellar ability to cover ground defensively. On the boards, he isn’t the most efficient rebounder and sometimes gets beaten to loose balls around the rim. He also turns the ball over, averaging 2.4 per game last season and sporting seven games in which he turned the ball over four or more times (including seven against San Diego on Feb. 23).

THEY SAID IT

"It was huge, I 'm not sure I would have been drafted coming out as a freshman or sophomore. A wise decision to stay. Also, I took that redshirt year and that really helped improve my body and develop my game and get my body and game mentally and physically where it needed to be." — Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk on staying in school for junior year

WHAT HE CAN BRING TO THE WOLVES

Olynyk is more of an offensive asset, which differs a bit from some of the other big man prospects that fall into his area of the first round. Most of the others are known for their defensive abilities, while Olynyk—still a 7-footer—is a player who can step in and likely show the ball handling ability that would make him a steady rotation player in the front court. He made incredible strides in his game after taking that redshirt year off in 2011-12, so he does show the potential to grow as a player as he transitions to the next level. Soft-spoken and focuses, Olynyk appears to have the work ethic to go along with a background of winning from his successful stint at Gonzaga.

Minnesota Timberwolves All-Time Draft Picks

Year
Player
Pos.
School
Rd / Pick
Ht / Wt
Class
2012
Robbie Hummel
F
Purdue
2 / 58
6'8" / 215
Sr
2011
Derrick Williams
F
Arizona
1 / 2
6'8" / 248
So

Donatas Motiejunas
F/C
Italy
1 / 20
7'0" / 222
Int'l
2010
Wesley Johnson
G/F
Syracuse
1 / 4
6'7" / 215
Jr
Luke Babbitt
F
Nevada
1 / 16
6'9" / 225
So
Trevor Booker
F
Clemson
1 / 23
6'8" / 240
Sr
Paulo Prestes
C
Brazil
2 / 45
6'11" / 260
Int'l
Hamady Ndiaye
C
Rutgers
2 / 56
7'0" / 235
Sr
2009
Ricky Rubio
G
Spain
1 / 5
6'4" / 180
Int'l

Jonny Flynn
G
Syracuse
1 / 6
6'0" / 185
So

Ty Lawson
G
North Carolina
1 / 18
5'11" / 195
Jr

Wayne Ellington
G
North Carolina
1 / 28
6'4" / 200
Jr

Nick Calathes
G
Florida
2 / 45
6'6" / 194
So

Henk Norel
F
Netherlands
2 / 47
6'10" / 230
Int'l
2008
OJ Mayo
G
USC
1 / 3
6'4" / 200
Fr
Nikola Pekovic
C
Montenegro
2 / 31
6'11" / 265
Int
Mario Chalmers
G
Kansas
2 / 34
6'1" / 190
Jr
2007
Corey Brewer
F
Florida
1 / 7
6'9" / 185
Jr

Chris Richard
F
Florida
2 / 41
6'9" / 255
Sr
2006
Brandon Roy
G
Washington
1 / 6
6'6" / 215
Sr

Craig Smith
F
Boston College
2 / 36
6'7" / 250
Sr

Bobby Jones
F
Washington
2 / 37
6'7" / 215
Sr

Loukas Mavrokefalidis
F
Greece
2 / 57
6'11" / 260
Int'l
2005
Rashad McCants
G
North Carolina
1 / 14
6'4" / 207
Jr

Bracey Wright
G
Indiana
2 / 47
6'3" / 210
Jr
2004
Blake Stepp
G
Gonzaga
2 / 58
6'4" / 194
Sr
2003
Ndudi Ebi
F
Westbury Christian H.S.
1 / 26
6'9" / 195
HS

Rick Rickert
F
Minnesota
2 / 55
6'11" / 215
So
2002
Marcus Taylor
G
Michigan State
2 / 52
6'3" / 195
So
2001
Loren Woods
C
Arizona
2 / 46
7'1" / 245
Sr
2000
Igor Rakocevic
G
Yugoslavia
2 / 51
6'2" / 184
Int
1999
Wally Szczerbiak
F
Miami (Ohio)
1 / 6
6'7" / 244
Sr

William Avery
G
Duke
1 / 14
6'2" / 180
So

Louis Bullock
G
Michigan
2 / 42
6'2" / 180
Sr
1998
Rasho Nesterovic
C
Slovenia
1 / 17
7'0" / 248
Int

Andrae Patterson
F
Indiana
2 / 46
6'9" / 240
Sr
1997
Paul Grant
C
Wisconsin
1 / 20
7'0" / 245
Sr

Gordon Malone
F
West Virginia
2 / 44
6'11" / 215
Jr
1996
Ray Allen
G
Connecticut
1 / 5
6'5" / 205
Jr
1995
Kevin Garnett
F
Farragut Academy H.S.
1 / 5
6'11" / 220
HS

Mark Davis
F
Texas Tech
2 / 48
6'7" / 210
Sr

Jerome Allen
G
Pennsylvania
2 / 49
6'4" / 184
Sr
1994
Donyell Marshall
F
Connecticut
1 / 4
6'9" / 220
Jr

Howard Eisley
G
Boston College
2 / 30
6'3" / 180
Sr
1993
Isaiah Rider
G
UNLV
1 / 5
6'5" / 215
Sr

Sherron Mills
F
Virginia Commonwealth
2 / 29
6'9"
Sr
1992
Christian Laettner
F
Duke
1 / 3
6'11" / 235
Sr

Marlon Maxey
F
UTEP
2 / 28
6'8" / 250
Sr

Chris Smith
G
Connecticut
2 / 34
6'3" / 191
Sr

Tim Burroughs
F
Jacksonville
2 / 51
6'8"
Sr
1991
Luc Longley
C
New Mexico
1 / 7
7'2" / 265
Sr/Int

Myron Brown
G
Slippery Rock
2 / 34
6'3" / 180
Sr
1990
Felton Spencer
C
Louisville
1 / 6
7'0" / 265
Sr

Gerald Glass
G
Mississippi
1 / 20
6'6" / 221
Sr
1989
Pooh Richardson
G
UCLA
1 / 10
6'1" / 186
Sr

Gary Leonard
C
Missouri
2 / 34
7'1" / 246
Sr

Doug West
G
Villanova
2 / 38
6'6" / 200
Sr

Mock Draft Boards

Bleacher Reports 2013 Mock PicksDraftExpress 2013 Mock PicksCBS (Goodman) 2013 Mock PicksHoops Hype 2013 Mock PicksSporting News 2013 Mock PicksHoops World 2013 Mock Picks