The Boston Celtics have signed Kelly Olynyk, the seven-foot Kamloops kid who was drafted 13th overall in the NBA Entry Draft last month.
Olynyk impressed the Celtics over the weekend in their summer league game against the Orlando Magic. Boston lost, 95-88, but Olynyk put up 25 points on a 9-for-12 shooting spree. Olynyk also went 2-for-4 from three-point range.
“If he’s got a bigger guy, try and get him on the perimeter,” said Celtics summer league coach Jay Larranga. “If he’s got a smaller guy, he can post up. He’s a lot of fun to coach.”
“It’s been a real focus because it’s such an asset to a team to have that big who can stretch the floor and it really opens up driving lanes for guards and makes it tough on defenses,” said Olynyk, to USA Today Sports. “It’s something I’m trying to focus on. By no means am I where I need to be. I still have to improve. I’m just going to keep working on that.”
Olynyk played his university ball for the Gonzaga Bulldogs and went to high school at South Kamloops secondary. He is the first Kamloopsian to ever be taken in the NBA Draft.
The first-year Olynyk joins first-year NBA coach Brad Stevens, who the Celtics signed only weeks after drafting.
Stevens came to fame by leading the previously unheralded Butler Bulldogs to two straight NCAA tournament finals, losing both times but winning legions of fans and admirers in the process.
Olynyk’s Zaga team lost to Butler in January, 64-63 on a last-second buzzer beater.
“They (were) so disciplined; execution is sound,” said Olynyk, on Stevens’s Butler squad. “They really execute, they really take game plans and put them into play and a lot of that has to do with him. It’s kinda like, when we were playing, you think you know what’s coming, but you really don’t. You think something’s coming, then all of a sudden they have a counter to the counter. It’s unbelievable. Like I said before, he’s got a basketball mind that has really developed into great coaching.”