Rebuilding The Celtics: For Kelly Olynyk, Story Remains The Same

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As the Boston Celtics head into the offseason, NESN.com takes a closer look at each player on the roster in an effort to determine who will stick around for next season and who will be playing elsewhere.

Next up: Kelly Olynyk.

It’s not an exaggeration to call Olynyk the Celtics’ most frustrating player.

At his best, the second-year Gonzaga product is a valuable offensive weapon — a 7-footer with 3-point range and an unusually silky shot for a big man. Olynyk isn’t a rim protector or a post-up threat, and he’s nothing special on the defensive end, but when he asserts himself, he has the ability to be a truly dangerous scorer.

The asserting himself part, though, has been the problem.

It’s not a lack of effort that has held Olynyk back through his first two NBA seasons, but rather a lack of confidence. He far too often would pass up open shots or drives, deferring to teammates or hesitating and allowing a defender to swallow him up.

Coaches and teammates alike have publicly implored him to do what he does best: Shoot the ball.

?The most important thing for me with Kelly is just assertiveness on the offensive end,? head coach Brad Stevens said after a March win over the Memphis Grizzlies. ?And defensively, but offensively. I got mad at him in the first half, because he passed up a shot right in front of me and traveled. I?m saying, ?Shoot it.? We?re going to get the whole crowd to start saying, ?Shoot it? — that?s our next step. Not before he shoots it, not during his shot, but if he doesn?t shoot it and travels, we?ve all got to say, ?Shoot it.? ?

Those comments came during a brutal slump for Olynyk, who shot 30.2 percent from the floor and a miserable 16.7 percent from deep over his first 11 games after returning from an ankle injury.

It stands to reason that Olynyk will still be around when the Celtics begin training camp this fall. He’s young, cheap and still has plenty of potential. Olynyk is far from a franchise cornerstone at this stage, however, and there’s a possibility he could be packaged in a trade this summer, especially if Boston decides to bolster its frontcourt — a glaring area of need.

(A player like Kevin Love would fill this hole, though Olynyk might have made wooing the Cleveland Cavaliers big to Boston an even taller task than it already was.)

What do you think? Would you like to see another season of Olynyk in green?

Up next: Phil Pressey

Previously: Chris Babb, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Luigi Datome, Jonas Jerebko

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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