Celts Make Smart Move by Acquiring Olynyk

BOSTON – He isn’t going to out-run you, but he sure might out-smart you.

Meet Kelly Olynyk, the newest member of the Boston Celtics.

Danny Ainge traded up in Thursday night’s NBA Draft in order to select the 22-year-old All-American, who starred at Gonzaga University this past season. Ainge moved up to the 13th pick in the draft by relinquishing the rights to the 16th overall pick and two future second-round picks.

Kelly Olynyk posts up

The Celtics believe Kelly Olynyk's basketball IQ and skill set will translate well to the NBA.
Randy Belice/NBAE/Getty Images

In Ainge’s mind, the price to move up three slots was well worth it.

“Kelly Olynyk, we watched him play a lot this year,” Ainge said Thursday night, shortly after the acquisition became official. “He’s a 7-footer that can shoot and pass and think. He has a great feel for the game.”

If you’re feeling a sense of déjà vu, don’t worry. It’s expected. Those quotes – aside from the name drop and the 7-footer part – reek of what Ainge had to say about a player he drafted 365 days ago.

Seriously. It’s eerie how similar Ainge’s comments were after drafting Jared Sullinger with the 21st overall pick in the 2012 Draft.

“What I like about him is he’s complete and he can pass,” Ainge said of Sullinger exactly a year ago. “He can think, he can rebound, he can shoot.”

Like we said. Eerie.

Sullinger’s back wasn’t the only reason that he dropped to the Celtics during last year’s draft. Teams also questioned his athleticism. The same can be said for Olynyk, who won’t wow you with his hops or speed.

The Celtics are counting on Olynyk to mirror Sullinger’s ability to make up for a lack of athleticism with a high IQ and refined skill set. Though the players are dissimilar in appearance and stature, Ainge believes their similarities will help them to jive well on the court for Boston.

“I think him and Jared will complement each other really well,” said Ainge. “They both can shoot the ball, they both can pass the ball. They can guard multiple positions. They’re very smart.”

Much like with Sullinger, the Celtics are tapering expectations for this year’s top draft pick in Boston. They don’t think he’s going to be a star just because he was chosen in the lottery. They simply want him to be who he truly is: a strong player who can blend in well with his teammates.

“He’s just a really good complementary player,” Ainge explained. “He’s not a go-to guy. He’s not a star player. He’s like a really good teammate type of player; complements other guys.”

To the Celtics, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it seems as if everything is right with that.

Ainge and his basketball operations group made a decisive move to jump up three spots in the draft to select Olynyk.

To them, adding this 7-footer to their roster was the smart thing to do.

How ironic.


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