This Sunday’s notebook of Celtics news and notes discusses the reasons why Danny Ainge and company chose to trade up in the draft in addition to who might be Boston’s next head coach and a potential foreign signing.
KELLY OLYNYK: SHOOTING SUPERSTAR
On Thursday, June 27, the Celtics entered the 2013 NBA draft with the No. 16 pick. Not too many people were sure what player Boston would select, but most knew that the Dallas Mavericks were hoping to get out of the first round. The Celtics then sent their No. 16 pick and two second-rounders in 2014 to the Mavericks for the No. 13 overall selection. Therefore, Dallas originally drafted Kelly Olynyk, but he ultimately wore green at the end of the night.
Then the next day, I was listening to a podcast hosted by David Locke, the Utah Jazz radio play-by-play announcer. He said that the Jazz had Olynyk participate in their usual ‘Jazz 100’ shooting drill and the Canadian performed spectacularly:
[Skip to 9:08 in video]
“The Jazz really wanted, and I think expected, to get Kelly Olynyk at the 14th pick…The Jazz put Kelly Olynyk through a workout. They put all the guys that come in for workouts – the guards do something called the ‘Jazz 100.’ It is 100 3-point shots in a short period of time, taking 10 [shots] from 10 different spots in 10 different manners on the floor, so some can be coming off a pick-and-roll; some can be spot-ups where it is kicked out to you; some can be fading into the corner; [and] some are trailing in transition.”
For guards, they attempt all 3-pointers while the big men usually shoot long two-point field goals. However, the Jazz decided that the seven-footer from British Columbia would shoot 3-pointers.
“Talking to Olynyk after the draft, no other team had him take more than five three’s by the time he had come to Salt Lake City. His next spot, by the way, leaving Salt Lake was to go to Boston. This is important. In the workout with the Jazz, Olynyk hits, I think it was, 63 of 100 three’s, which was like the second-most amount of three’s that anyone hit.”
Olynyk’s performance in this shooting drill must make Celtics fans smile, especially after he attempted only 30 shots from 3-point distance in 845 minutes on the court as a junior at Gonzaga. In addition, Olynyk’s scoring prowess at the hoop is another important part of his package as an offensive player. The 2012-13 Celtics were a great midrange shooting team, but Olynyk will help usher in the new era with strong scoring in the paint and from beyond the arc.
OLYNYK REDSHIRTED IN 2011-12 FOR A REASON
Not only is Olynyk physically able to contribute to the Celtics, but he is also mentally strong. Olynyk’s redshirt season showed Gonzaga head coach Mark Few that he is a special player, courtesy of the Boston Herald’s Tom Layman:
“Olynyk decided to redshirt his junior season to develop his game and take advantage when some of the Gonzaga big men in front of him moved on to future endeavors.
“Few set up Olynyk with the scout team and walk-ons to prepare his starters for upcoming games. Normally those would be one-sided affairs. As Few tells it, that wasn’t the case with Olynyk on the other side.
““He would take a group of walk-ons and get them organized and get them in the right spot and they would give our starting five fits sometimes,” Few told the Herald yesterday. “It was to the point where I’d have to tell Kelly to back off a little bit so it wouldn’t mess with our confidence.””
Not typically does a player redshirt that far into his collegiate career when he has this type of talent. However, in this case, it was vital for Olynyk, who averaged 18 points and more than seven rebounds per game the following season.
““He’s got an IQ like a point guard. It’s that high,” Few said. “He knows what we are supposed to be doing. He knows what the opponent is doing, so he really has a great feel for the game.””
The 2013 draft might not have been the deepest one, but the Celtics sacrificed very little to select a player who could be an important part of the team in the near future.
BRETT BROWN ‘EXTREMELY’ INTERESTED IN BEING CELTICS HEAD COACH
While the Celtics were not very close to making it to the 2013 NBA Finals, they might be getting a piece of the San Antonio Spurs’ coaching staff. League sources told Baxter Holmes and the Boston Globe that Brett Brown, who has spent more than a decade in San Antonio, wants to be the Celtics’ next head coach:
“According to a report in the San Antonio Express-News, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said Brown is still in line to replace the departed Mike Budenholzer as the Spurs’ lead assistant. Budenholzer left to become head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.”
Surprisingly, Brown does not seem to want to be the lead assistant for the defending Western Conference champion Spurs. He has been linked to the Philadelphia 76ers’ job as well.
“[I]t’s unclear how long Brown, whom the sources said has not been contacted by the Celtics, will be on the market. The Philadelphia 76ers are very interested in hiring Brown, who is considered one of the top candidates available, to fill their head coaching vacancy.
“As of Friday, the only NBA teams that hadn’t hired a coach were the Celtics and 76ers, and a league source pointed out that each team is likely looking at similar candidates.”
According to 76ers’ management, it was falsely reported that Brown was named their head coach on Friday. It will be fascinating to see what happens with the coaching searches for the two Atlantic Division teams. Jay Larranaga, who will coach Olynyk and the rest of the Celtics youngsters in the NBA’s 2013 summer league, is also a candidate for Boston’s coaching position.
ITALIAN LEAGUE MVP GIGI DATOME COULD SIGN WITH THE CELTICS
According to Sportando.com, Luigi “Gigi” Datome will leave Virtus Roma this summer to play in the NBA. The two teams linked to the 25-year-old are the Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies:
“Datome was named Serie A Regular Season MVP and ended the year averaging 16.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg and 1.7 apg in 48 games.
“Virtus Roma General Manager Nicola Alberani, in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, said “Datome is pursued by Celtics and Grizzlies with Boston as front runners to sign him.””
There is not much known about the Italian forward, but he could add to the frontcourt depth for the Celtics. He may not sign in time to play for the Celtics’ summer league team, but it will be intriguing to see him when he comes to the United States.
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