Only whistles have slowed Olynyk
NBA referees don't let rookies get away with much and it's particularly difficult to hide when you're a 7-footer with flowing hair like Olynyk. Fortunately for him, the rest of his stat line reflects well. Olynyk is plus-39 in plus-minus over Boston's last three games and a big reason why the Celtics have been more competitive than they were at the start of the exhibition season.
Olynyk is averaging 9.8 points and 4 rebounds per game while shooting 53.2 percent from the floor overall (and 57.5 percent on 2-point field goal attempts). Dig deeper and Olynyk is averaging 0.937 points per play, according to Synergy Sports data. That's a respectable number (65th percentile among all NBA players) and one that's only been diminished by Olynyk's turnover rate.
Those fouls and turnovers are correctable mistakes with a young player. Olynyk can take pride in filling up some of the team's unsung stat categories, such as leading the team in charges absorbed (6) and and-1's generated (4). After the Celtics traded up with Dallas to snag Olynyk at No. 13 in June's draft, the two biggest question marks were whether he could rebound at the NBA level and be a more consistent defender overall.
Olynyk grabbed a team-high nine rebounds during Wednesday's loss to the Raptors in his native Toronto. Olynyk wasn't a particularly efficient rebounder at the college level, but he's made that a priority playing for a team with virtually no size at center.
More surprisingly, Olynyk has more than held his own defensively through a six-game preseason glimpse. According to Synergy Sports data, Olynyk has allowed a minuscule 0.586 points per play this preseason. That ranks him in the 81st percentile among all NBA players this preseason and it's third best on Boston behind only Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford. The usual caution here about small sample sizes, but Olynyk has done nothing but thrive in his NBA opportunities to this point.
Olynyk scored 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting on Wednesday night. He was a team-best plus-14 in plus/minus and his performance aided Boston's latest second-unit rally. All six of Olynyk's buckets came at the rim, but he has shown an ability to hit from all over the floor, only strengthening his offensive reputation after a dazzling debut at the Orlando Summer League.
In Toronto, Olynyk was mobbed by reporters as he returned to the area where he grew up. Veteran players probably kept his ego in check by throwing a few additional rookie chores his way after the game.
No harm, no foul in that.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter weighs in on the Panthers' WR situation, Julian Edelman's future with the Patriots, Vince Wilfork's decision to ask for his release and more.
Play Podcast "Spanning the Globe" features ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss, Yahoo! Sports' Eric Edholm and ESPN LA 710's Mark Willard.
Play Podcast Red Sox manager John Farrell talks about whether he expected his team to make such a turnaround in one season, his relationship with his players, fans' expectations for the squad and more.