clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NBA Draft 2013: Kelly Olynyk scouting report

The Gonzaga big man came out of nowhere to become one of the top offensive forces in college basketball, but will his game translate well to the pros?

Streeter Lecka

SB Nation is posting scouting reports of each prospect in the 2013 NBA Draft. Learn more about Gonzaga big man Kelly Olynyk.

NAME: Kelly Olynyk

SCHOOL: Gonzaga

AGE ON DRAFT NIGHT: 22 years, two months

POSITION: Power forward/center

MEASUREMENTS: 7'0, 234 pounds, 6'9.75 wingspan, 9'0 standing reach


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Kelly Olynyk 32 26.4 6.7 10.7 62.9 0.3 0.9 30.0 4.1 5.3 77.6 2.4 4.9 7.3 1.7 2.4 0.7 1.1 2.3 17.8

RELEVANT ADVANCED STATS: 67.5-percent true shooting. Olynyk was one of the most efficient scorers in the country this season


NBA CEILING: Mehmet Okur

NBA FLOOR: Byron Mullens


Kelly Olynyk was a spare player in his first two years at Gonzaga. He acted as a big man who hung around the perimeter and struggled to make much of an impact on the game.

However, after taking a redshirt year to reinvent himself, he came back this season as one of the best players in the country. Olynyk averaged 18 points, seven rebounds and two assists on 63-percent shooting from the field, 30 percent from 3-point range and 77 percent from the free throw line. Instead of relying on his jumper, he made a concerted effort to play closer to the basket, attacking the defense off the dribble and in the post.

He lead Gonzaga to a 32-3 record, their best mark during Mark Few's remarkable run in Northwest Washington. While the level of play in the West Coast Conference isn't that high, he was tested by Gonzaga's non-conference schedule, annually one of the best in the country.

At 7'0 and 240 pounds, Olynyk has a rare combination of size and skill for a big man. However, unless he can convince an NBA team to run a substantial amount of their offense through him, he may end up playing off the bench at the next level. With only a 6'9 wingspan, he's a classic tweener on the defensive end. He doesn't have the length or athleticism to protect the paint as a center and he doesn't have the foot-speed to chase players 15-20 feet from the basket as a power forward. As a rookie, the Canadian big man would be more effective on a second unit, where his size and finishing ability would give him an edge against smaller and slower defenders.

Ironically enough, Olynyk has the most upside along the three-point line, a part of his game he mostly abandoned to become a dominant college player. He went 25-75 from beyond the arc in college, displaying the type of form that could eventually make him a stretch 5.



Canis Hoopus:

Olynyk's 2013 offensive-post dominance was special. Easily the best among prospects in the past three seasons (the time period I have shot-location data for). He scored 16.8 points at the rim per 40. The next best was Cody Zeller in 2012 who scored 13.3. Nobody else was even close. Olynyk's 73-percent efficiency at the rim implies that he could have comfortably increased his volume even more. Olynyk's scoring game does not stop there though. He also took 5.3 mid-range shots per game and hit them at an impressive 53-percent clip. Jeremy Lamb, Mike Scott, Kevin Murphy, and Marcus Morris were the only other players with comparable mid-range success. Olynyk is a gifted scorer in the paint or from the elbow and even hinted at the ability to stretch to the 3-point line. Combine that with his solid passing and he has the potential to be a team's primary offensive threat.

The major concern with Olynyk is his defense. Box scores and scouting reports agree that he doesn't offer the defensive presence teams want at the five. His explosion after a couple completely unremarkable seasons is also concerning, but given the fact that teams routinely draft 7' stiffs in the hopes they might develop, it would seem weird to pass on a 7' stiff who did develop.

Celtics Blog:

As expected, he was one of the most skilled big men at the combine. He looked very comfortable working out of the pick-and-roll and scoring in the low post with his array of crafty moves. He definitely has a knack for scoring, but his lack of explosiveness at a position that's getting smaller, quicker and more athletic is a concern. He also had the unfortunate honor of being the No. 1 player in the Alligator Arm Index, having the worst height-to-wingspan ratio of anyone at the combine.

Bullets Forever:

On the surface, a big man who's averse to banging down low would lead many to oppose Kelly Olynyk. However, given the right role and under a more fast paced system, I think he would prove to be a strong third or fourth big off an NBA bench. He won't turn into Spencer Hawes if his minutes are monitored, and coaches would get a kick out of all the lineups they may flaunt with Olynyk at their disposal. However, defending stockier bigs and finishing inside will serve as road bumps as he makes the transition.

Rufus on Fire:

The seven-foot center out of Gonzaga is a lot like Cody Zeller on the offensive end. He's mobile, he's got a great touch around the rim, he runs the floor well and he has a great post up game. He's also a great shooter for his position, shooting 35.7-percent from beyond the arc this season, with a solid dribble-drive game from above the free throw line. However, some worry that his lack of athleticism will hinder his ability to be a high-impact player in the NBA. On the defensive end, Olynyk is prone to getting bullied in the lane, having issues with both post positioning and rebounding. To further things, he seems to lack the overall awareness to be an acceptable team defender.

For more coverage, visit SB Nation's NBA Draft 2013 section.