Kelly Olynyk Boosts Reputation During 2020 NBA Season
Although lacking the star power of their American counterparts, there have been excellent Canadian basketball players such as Steve Nash, Andrew Wiggins, and Tristan Thompson. However, a new name is entering the conversation in the shape of Kelly Olynyk from the Miami Heat. Rather than warm the bench playing online casino games, Olynyk saw significant minutes in games two and three of the 2020 NBA Finals against the triumphant LA Lakers.
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A Productive 2020 for Olynyk
When reflecting on the top NBA stats for 2019-20, it was an active season for Kelly Olynyk, who featured in 67 regular-season games at center for the Miami Heat. The stats also reveal that Olynyk averages 19.4 minutes per game for a minutes per game percentage of 40.4%.
In terms of scoring, Olynyk averaged 8.2 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, and 1.7 assists per game. He also attempted 100 free throws for 0.86, 164 two-pointers for 0.543, and 234 three-pointers for 0.406. On the defensive side, meanwhile, he contributed 0.67 steals per game, 0.34 blocks per game, and 1.06 turnovers per game. While Olynyk’s defensive rating came at 96.6, he produced an even stronger offensive rating of 116.1.
In the playoffs, Olynyk featured in 17 games for 15.2 minutes per game. During those appearances, Olynyk attempted 28 free throws for 0.821, 46 two-pointers for 0.609, and 49 three-pointers for 0.347. Meanwhile, he averaged 7.6 PPG, 4.6 PPG, 1.1 APG, 0.24 SPG, 0.47 BPG, and 0.76 TOPG to deliver an offensive rating of 116.6 and a defensive rating of 96.2. In terms of the stats, Olynyk did not disappoint when compared to his solid showing in the regular-season.
Based on the 2019-20 NBA power rankings, Olynyk’s offensive contributions are more impressive than his defensive efforts. However, this is in line with the average output of the Miami Heat, who performed better for offensive output rather than defense. From the power rankings, it is evident that the Heat was an above-average team for offensive production and below average for defense in 2019-20.
Olynyk’s Path to the NBA
Although famous in BC, Kelly Olynyk was born in Toronto, Ontario, in April 1991, where he was raised until departing for South Kamloops Secondary School in grade 7. The athletic teenager competed in track and field tournaments while furthering his initial basketball development as a point guard. By grade 11, Olynyk measured 6’3” and continued to play the position. By grade 12, Olynyk led the South Kamloops Titans to a dominant winning record of 36-2 to conclude the season.
Despite being recruited out of high school by North Carolina and Syracuse, Olynyk remained closer to home by opting to play college ball with the Gonzaga Bulldogs of Spokane, Washington. Olynyk averaged 12-13 minutes per game during his freshman and sophomore years with the Bulldog. He then redshirted his junior year and featured more heavily in the line-up during a breakout senior year in which he was a Consensus First-Team All-American.
Rather than stay in college for another year of eligibility, Olynyk declared for the 2013 NBA Draft and was taken 13th overall by the Dallas Mavericks. However, Olynyk was not destined to play in Dallas and was immediately traded to the Boston Celtics, where he would remain for four seasons. In his debut season, he averaged 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds over 70 games and was named on the NBA All-Rookie second team.
The Celtics exercised their option to retain Olynyk for a fourth season, which began with the Toronto native missing six games following surgery on his right shoulder. After a slow start, Olynyk broke out with a season-high of 26 points to help the Celtics defeat the Atlanta Hawks 103-101 in January 2017. Another highlight was a 4-3 series victory over the Washington Wizards in the 2017 NBA Playoffs, with Olynyk producing a career-high 26 points in game 7.
Although posting career highs in individual games, the Celtics chose not to re-sign Olynyk, who became an unrestricted free agent in July 2017. A month later, however, Olynyk had found a new home with the Miami Heat, who saw enough talent in the center to recruit him on a four-year contract worth $50 million.
It was a season to remember for the Heat, who went all the way to the 2020 NBA Finals before losing to LeBron James and the LA Lakers. However, Olynyk can feel proud after producing a team-high 24 points in the game 2 loss, which turned out to be the highest points total by a Canadian in the finals. He also impressed in game 3 by producing 17 points and seven rebounds.