COMMENTARY | With the NBA Finals quickly approaching, teams on the outside looking in have turned their focus to the NBA Draft. With an interesting group of players leaving college for the NBA, the first round should certainly be interesting.
The Boston Celtics have a unique situation with regards to the draft; they may have to find a player who can play right away in case Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett return, but one who can also develop into a building block long-term. This is what the team saw in Jared Sullinger, who was immediately able to produce before losing much of his rookie season to injury.
At pick number 16, Danny Ainge's options are certainly limited for a team with as many needs as the Celtics. He'll likely have to look for a player who produced like a lottery player in college, but fell down the boards of many for one reason or another. Sullinger was a force at Ohio State, but fell into Boston's lap due to concerns with his back.
So, who should the Celtics target?
Their best bet is to look for Kelly Olynyk, who is projected by many to be an end of the lottery pick. The 7 footer was the leader of Gonzaga's team this past year, and is an intriguing NBA prospect.
While he stands at 7 feet, Olynyk isn't your prototypical bruiser. He doesn't have a terribly wide frame, and isn't the freak athlete that many NBA teams covet. However, Olynyk plays with a ton of energy and has a nose for rebounds, averaging 7.3 rebounds per game last season. Offensively, he knows his limits, and is fantastic at taking high percentage shots, leading to his 62.9% field goal percentage.
The Celtics have been a notoriously bad rebounding team in recent memory, which has in part negated their outstanding defensive efforts from time to time. Kelly Olynyk would give the team size that it desperately needs, and a high motor rebounder to help the team's woes on the glass.
Offensively, Olynyk's shooting ability would be a huge asset to the Celtics. Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley don't scare anyone with their shooting, and Olynyk would at least open up the floor a little by forcing the defense to respect his jumper. He shot 30% from three, which isn't great, but good enough to at least drag his defender out of to the perimeter.
The Celtics desperately need a high motor big man to help their rebounding, which is exactly what Olynyk is. There are definitely concerns regarding his competition, and how Gonzaga doesn't exactly play against the best players on a nightly basis. Regardless, much of Olynyk's game should translate well to the NBA. He was not one to rely on being stronger, faster, or more athletic than his competition in college. His game was hustle, making the right plays, and just competing harder. Why shouldn't that continue on in the NBA?
Kelly Olynyk doesn't have the highest ceiling in the draft, and it's pretty clear what you're getting with him. A 7 footer with a nose for the ball and an endless motor is never a bad thing, and Danny Ainge would be silly to pass on him if he is available.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering the Celtics for 3 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings .
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