WALTHAM, Mass. — Certain narratives have a way of hanging around in the NBA playoffs. Exhibit A: the “Kelly Olynyk is a dirty player” storyline.
We have Draymond Green to thank for stirring the pot on Olynyk’s questionable play. The Golden State Warriors forward insisted Monday on his podcast that Olynyk is, in fact, a dirty player, and he’s lost all respect for the Boston Celtics big man after his scuffle with Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. in Game 3.
The Celtics, of course, don’t share Green’s thoughts on the matter, a stance they made abundantly clear after their practice Tuesday.
“Everyone has their own opinion, but I don’t agree (with) it,” Celtics guard Avery Bradley said when asked for his thoughts on Green’s comments. “I think Kelly is far from a dirty guy. I’m pretty sure some guys might have their opinion on Draymond, some of the plays that he’s made in the past. But I don’t care.”
Indeed, Green carries his own reputation as one of the dirtiest players in the NBA — he’s racked up 31 technical fouls in the last two regular seasons and was T’d up four times in the 2016 postseason alone. Isaiah Thomas was a little more blunt when asked about Green’s remarks.
“I don’t know how he can call anybody dirty,” the Celtics point guard said. “… It’s a joke that he said that.”
But does Thomas think Olynyk is on Green’s level?
“Yeah, he’s one of the dirtiest players I know,” Thomas said.
“No, he’s nowhere near dirty. It’s just a couple of occasions (where it’s been), wrong time, wrong place. Things happen in basketball, especially physical playoff basketball.”
Olynyk also got the chance to defend himself against his “dirty player” charge Tuesday.
“That’s ridiculous,” Olynyk said. “I know who I am. I know what I do. I know what I stand for. My teammates know, and that’s all that matters.”
As for getting vehemently booed by the Verizon Center crowd in Game 4, Olynyk is taking a positive view.
“If 20,000 people want to focus their energy on me, that’s pretty fun,” he added.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens, meanwhile, doesn’t want Olynyk wasting any of his energy on anything other than the Wizards.
“I don’t agree with that assessment (that Olynyk is a dirty player),” Stevens said. “I’ve been asked about it a couple days in a row now, and all I can say is, I’ve been here for four years with him watching him play, and I think he’s playing at a really good level right now, and I just want him to focus on that.”
Thumbnail photo via Caylor Arnold/USA TODAY Sports Images