Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/24/13
Kelly Olynyk is going to really like the stern talking-to he is going to get from Brad Stevens. Stevens the Celtics’ head coach had some unusual but accurate criticism for the rookie after Wednesday’s 101-97 preseason win over the Brooklyn Nets. Olynyk had a fine performance overall much better than his nine-point six-rebound stat line implied but Stevens had a minor bone to pick nonetheless. Namely Stevens wanted to know why it took Olynyk until the 5:40 mark of the third quarter to crack the scoring column for the first time in the game. “Kelly is still too passive shooting the ball” Stevens said. “That’s the one thing you can be critical about because it’s nice to be told to shoot more. So he needs to shoot it more for us there’s no question about it.” Aggressiveness at both ends of the floor is an issue for the Canadian big man. He loves to pass and he is very good at it but he also possesses a deadly jump shot from anywhere on the court. He took just three 3-pointers on Wednesday making one but Stevens has given Olynyk the green light. (Vitor Faverani took four.) Defensively Olynyk is still feeling his way around although it is unclear whether that is due to passivity or because of the learning curve for an NBA rookie. His failure to hedge effectively on a screen and a poor rotation off the ball led to layups on two straight possessions in the second half. After he watched Courtney Lee get screened and then allowed Lee’s man to dribble in for a layup the veteran guard quickly made the rookie aware of his error before bringing the ball upcourt. “I don’t think you are ever where you need to be” Olynyk said. “I think you always have room for improvement in anything you do in life.” Merry-go-roster Faverani cracked the starting lineup for the Celtics in place of Jared Sullinger who was sick. It was another lineup shuffle by Stevens who used Olynyk and Gerald Wallace at the forward spots with Jeff Green and Avery Bradley in the backcourt. Faverani and Olynyk clearly benefited playing off each other and the unit seemed to mesh well despite another slow start. Several players who were regulars for most of the preseason like Jordan Crawford and Kris Humphries played only a few minutes in the win. Wallace by contrast logged a game-high 37 minutes. Stevens admitted that was partly due to how tight the game was late and that his competitive juices led him to put in players who were playing well to get a win even if it was only preseason. Stevens does not want anyone — players or fans — reading too much into the juggling he has done with his personnel in the last few games however. “Certain guys played a lot of minutes [Wednesday] certain guys didn’t play and all of those guys have to stay ready” Stevens said. “I wouldn’t call any of our lineups definitive or as definitive as I’d like but I think that we’re moving in a good direction.”
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