Marc D'Amico posted an article on Celtics.com that takes a look at the rookies to watch this next season. There was also a similar article on ESPN Insider earlier in the off season. D'Amico singled out the picks from Boston, Orlando, Cleveland, Charlotte and Philadelphia as players to watch this season.
I've seen several articles that have suggested that Orlando's pick, Victor Oladipo is a favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors and D'Amico echos that in this article. And, of course, Cleveland's #1 overall pick, Anthony Bennett, has to be in the mix. Cody Zeller and Michael Carter-Williams round out D'Amico's list of top rookies.
But, Celtics fans will be most interested in the rookie that is first on D'Amico's list. Danny Ainge moved up in the draft in order to grab Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk. Here is what D'Amico had to say about Boston's pick and why he should be in the mix for Rookie of the year:
Danny Ainge spoke to the media with a smile following the pick. He felt fortunate to have landed Olynyk, who he described as, “a 7-footer that can shoot and pass and think.”
Every NBA executive talks up their draft picks on draft night, but Ainge was simply speaking the truth. Olynyk proved as much during the Orlando Pro Summer League, where he showcased all of the skills Ainge had described.
Olynyk’s well-rounded game helped him finish fourth in Orlando in scoring with 18.0 points per game and fifth in the league in rebounding with 7.8 rebounds per game. He racked up those numbers while torching the nets to the tune of 57.8 percent shooting, and he committed one or less turnovers in three of his five games.
Olynyk made a lasting impression in Orlando and there’s no doubt that the league will be on the lookout for him. He has the potential to be a great role player for the Celtics next season, and that is exactly what they want him to be.
In Summer League, Kelly drew comparisons to both Dirk Nowitski and Kevin McHale. Those are some high expectations, but at this point, anything is possible for the Celtics' rookie. A bout with plantar fasciitis this summer may be a cause for concern as big men and foot problems is not a good mix. But hopefully it won't be a problem going forward. If KO can win the Rookie of the Year, we'll hear some comparisons to another former Celtic, Larry Bird, who was the last Celtic to earn the honor.
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