We’re in a season of transition. A season in which the one thing we’re looking for is progress. This will be a long process back to contending, but the fundamental pieces might already be here.
In the first edition of NBA.com’s Rookie Ladder, two Celtics have a spot. If you like numbers, 20% of the guys on the ladder are Celtics and just 20% of the players selected in the Top 5 of last years draft are on it. That’s just 1 out of the 5 top draftees – obviouslyt that 1 being Oladipo. Vitor Faverani, an undrafted rook, occupies the 3rd spot. 67% of the Celtics’s rookies are on the ladder.
In this season, we’re hoping to see the Celtics develop their youth. They have a very solid base of young players in Green, Avery, Sullinger, Olynyk, and now even Faverani. It will be a priority this year for us to see what we have in those guys.
Therefore, the fact that two rooks are on the Top 10 of the NBA rookies while none of them was considered a Top 10 rookie heading to the season, is pretty important.
They have played beyond expectations. You could probably say Olynyk has played under expectations, but that would be counting the Summer League. The reality is that by the draft KO wasn’t a Top 10 rookie and now he’s 6th.
So the Celtics have solid youth among the NBA’s youth and that is very nice to see.
Here’s what was said of the rookies on the ladder:
Faverani (3): “While many (myself included) thought Kelly Olynyk would be the Celtics’ best rookie, so far it’s been the Brazilian big man who’s shined. Faverani has started all four games at center, averaging 9.5 points (fourth among rookies), 7.3 rebounds (first) and 2.8 blocks (first) in 27.5 minutes. The 25 year old, who played last season with Valencia in Spain, is shooting 56 percent and looks far from intimidated. It’s early, but he’ll continue to see big minutes, which means he’ll likely hang onto a rung in this not-so-deep rookie class.”
Olynyk (6): “Aside from a 15-point, eight-rebound showing Sunday in Detroit, the Celtics’ rookie looks far from the guy we saw in Orlando and the preseason. Olynyk held the top rung after Summer League, thanks to averages of 19.5 points and 7.8 rebounds. Through four games, though, KO has been more miss than hit, averaging 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting just 37.9 percent and missing all five of his 3-point attempts. He’ll continue to see 20-plus minutes a night, which should bode well for his staying in the Top 10, but if he wants to stay near the top, he’ll need to improve his offensive output.”