Kelly Olynyk couldn’t partake in any basketball activities over the summer. He missed all of training camp, didn’t play in any preseason games and was also inactive for the first six games of the regular season as a result of offseason shoulder surgery.
The seven foot Canadian finally returned, but he got off to a slow start and the team wasn’t doing too hot themselves. By the time Olynyk had racked up 19 appearances on the season, he was shooting a disappointing 33.9% from beyond the arc and the team had a record of 13-12. This wasn’t the start people expected from the Celtics, and a lot of it could be traced back to their depth pieces like Olynyk getting off to slow starts.
But now the team has won 12 of their last 15. While Isaiah Thomas continues to steal headlines and even the play of Al Horford continues to attract attention because of his big contract, you can’t ignore how much better they’ve been since Olynyk found his groove.
Olynyk has shot 41.9% from beyond the arc over the last 15 games and his offensive output has gone far beyond the reliable shot he’s brought to the floor since getting drafted as he’s averaging 2.3 APG over that stretch as well, a very good number for a backup center averaging just 20.2 minutes per game.
Games like his 9-for-11 shooting performance last night as he touched up the Atlanta Hawks for 26 points isn’t going to happen every night, but it’s not what you need out of him. Olynyk’s resurgence over the last month has been a big reason why the Celtics have solidified themselves as a top three team in the Eastern Conference.