2013 NBA Draft

Kelly Olynyk Will Add Immense Versatility to Rotation of NBA Franchise

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 23:  Kelly Olynyk #13 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs moves the ball in the first half while taking on the Wichita State Shockers during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at EnergySolutions Arena on March 23, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IApril 20, 2013

Former Gonzaga star Kelly Olynyk won't be receiving nearly as much attention as Kentucky's Nerlens Noel in lead-up to this summer's 2013 NBA draft, but that doesn't mean the 7-footer won't become a versatile contributor to an NBA rotation next season.

According to USA Today's Nicole AuerbachOlynyk has declared for the 2013 NBA draft after a sensational junior year.

The 22-year-old British Columbia native averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game on 63 percent shooting from the field this past season for the Bulldogs en route to leading Gonzaga to a No. 1 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

While Olynyk's game has some obvious weaknesses, it's important to note that the center was one of the most efficient players in all of college basketball in 2012-13. He finished with the top player efficiency rating in ESPN's John Hollinger College PER.

At 7'0", Olynyk's ability to play inside and outside offensively will make him an impact reserve at the NBA level. Though he didn't attempt a ton of three-pointers at Gonzaga this past season, Olynyk boasts range out to the three-point line and can present matchup nightmares for NBA centers.

Olynyk's ability to consistently knock down mid- to long-range shots reminds some of the L.A. Lakers' Pau Gasol, a frontcourt stud who can also score in a variety of ways.

Like Gasol, Olynyk is just as effective inside the paint and around the rim where he can score with his back to the basket. In addition to shooting a high percentage, Olynyk's motor on the offensive end of the floor will result in several second-chance opportunities for his future team.

No, Olynyk isn't an elite rebounder, but he's constantly attacking the rim on offense, consistently following his own shot and creating extra opportunities for his team. That's not to say Olynyk's aggressive offensive style will translate seamlessly to the NBA, but that his mindset will set him up for success.

Defensively, Olynyk must continue to improve and ultimately embrace the ability to utilize his size and strength on that end of the floor. 

When you consider everything that Kelly Olynyk brings to the table as an NBA rookie, though, it's certainly not difficult to see him as a lottery pick this June.

Still, considering that he flew under the radar with Gonzaga way out on the West Coast and was rarely seen other than in a few marquee matchups this past season, it's more likely that he goes somewhere in the mid first round, where he can become a versatile reserve for a contending NBA franchise.

 

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