Hoopsworld writer Alex Kennedy posted today some candidates to win the Rookie of the Year Award at the end of next season. Among his 7 prime candidates we found Celtics big man from Gonzaga, Kelly Olynyk. Here is what Kennedy had to say about his candidacy:
“Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics – If this name surprises you, then you clearly weren’t paying attention to summer league. Olynyk was easily the most impressive rookie in Orlando or Las Vegas, and he’ll have every opportunity to duplicate that success during the regular season. Olynyk is currently the only true center on the Celtics’ roster, which means he’ll be starting and playing a lot of minutes. Olynyk is NBA-ready and has the ability to score from all over the court. During summer league, he showed off his footwork and post moves, and drew rave reviews from opposing players. Olynyk is definitely someone to keep an eye on this season.”
I believe its realistic to think Kelly can win the award but I don’t think he’ll win it at the end. For one, some of Kennedy’s arguments aren’t the most accurate. He’s not the only true center on the Celtics -and according to Danny he isn’t even a center. That title belongs to Vitor Faverani. Also, there’s absolutely no guarantee he will be starting, as of now I think that role will land on Sullinger and Humphries. He should get plenty of minutes, though guys like Trey Burke, CJ McCollum, Victor Oladipo, and Ben McLemore are primed for higher roles on their respective teams.
However, Olynyk does have skills that do make him NBA-ready as Kennedy points out. I think he’ll be important for the Celtics next season and he’ll have an important job with the team, but not just enough to win ROY.
Think about the last few award winners. Kyrie and Lillard, for example, were the stars of their respective teams (though one can argue Aldridge was the man in Portland). Players in this rookie class with that kind of roles awaiting for them are probably Oladipo and Burke.
In Boston, Olynyk is, at best, the third option behind Green and Rondo.
ROY might be far-fetched for KO but he should not miss the All-Rookie team.