Better Know a Prospect: Kelly Olynyk, C - Gonzaga

USA TODAY Sports

Bio: Born in April of 1991 to a basketball family, Kelly Olynyk's bio reads like Anthony Davis from the great white north. He was a short 6'3" point guard until his Sophomore year in high school, when he suddenly shot up seven inches. He now stands a full 7'0". Once again, like Davis, his calling card is a physical grace - especially his ball-handling and shooting - that is rarely seen among men of his size. Like Davis, he didn't play at an elite high school, likely due to the fact that he was overlooked due to his size.

Olynyk comes from a basketball family - his mother was a referee and also worked for the Toronto Raptors for ten years. His father, Ken, was the head basketball coach for the University of Toronto men's basketball team and the Canadian junior national team. Amusingly, while the coach of the Canadian junior team, he decided to cut the future face Canadian basketball, Steve Nash.

Olynyk made an interesting choice - unlike almost every other Canadian basketball talent (including Anthony Bennett), he didn't come to the United States for high school. He instead got exposure to top American talent through summer camps and by playing on the Canadian junior national team. After sitting on the bench behind Robert Sacre for two years at Gonzaga, playing under 13 minutes per game, Olynyk decided to redshirt his junior year, instead spending time in the gym and improving his strength. The results were evident last year - he had a breakout season.

Offense: Olynyk is a high-efficiency, high usage scorer, able to produce 1.13 points per possession despite using 15 possessions per game. He's particularly efficient at getting to and finishing around the rim, making over 75% of his attempts near the rim last year. He is a solid post scorer, with an array of post moves that are capable of generating open shots. Olynyk also has a solid jumper. He doesn't use it much, shooting only 1.6 per game, but makes a good percentage of his shots around the perimeter. He made only 31% of his threes last year, but his free throw rate of 78% indicates that he could likely become a good shooter in the NBA.

He's pretty remarkable in transition as well, where his ball-handling skills really get a chance to shine - he's quick to release on defense and takes the right angles in transition to create easy looks at the basket. He's also able to understanding space in pick and rolls, opening up good angles for his passers. In addition, once he receives the pass, he usually likes to take an extra dribble or two to get a more open look at the basket - this might come to hurt him in the NBA, where an athletic help defender could cause havoc.

His weaknesses on offense largely stem from his athleticism. While he racked up an impressive statistical profile at Gonzaga, it's doubtful he can make the jump to the NBA seamlessly. He lacks explosiveness and athleticism, and will likely have a hard time competing against quicker defenders. His advanced age doesn't inspire confidence that he'll be able to improve significantly in the pros, either.

Defense: Olynyk will certainly not be drafted for his defense. His lack of leaping ability makes him a poor shot blocker, and his lack of lateral quickness makes him poor around the perimeter. He's a capable post defender, thanks to his increased size from his redshirt season, but might have problems when matched against players that are able to play around the perimeter. He's not always the most aware defender and seems to lack intensity on defense at times.

He's a mediocre defensive rebounder, nabbing 7.4 rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Olynyk often fails to get in good position for rebounding, and tends to be out-muscled and out-leaped for rebounds. Like I've said about other prospects, however, he certainly wouldn't be an obvious downgrade in defensive rebounding from Robin Lopez.

Overall: Olynyk has a really unique skill set that's very much in vogue in the NBA today. He can play the two-man game well, stretch the floor, and scores very efficiently. In a man of his size, those skills are extremely rare, and teams are certainly willing to pay for it. Considering that he has so far to come on defense and rebounding, I suspect that Demps and Monty might be less than thrilled with him, but he could make for a very interesting lineup with Davis and Anderson - three towers that can all stretch the floor.

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