Kelly Olynyk was a crucial part of last season’s surprising Utah Jazz. Olynyk has journeyed across the NBA and been a valuable contributor on every team he’s played for. With the Jazz, he accepted the role of a veteran big with a versatile skillset to help lead the team.
Age/Season: 32 years old, 11th NBA season
Measurements: 6’11”, 240 lbs
Last Season Stats: 12.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game, 64.3% true shooting (49% FG, 39% 3P, 85% FT)
Kelly Olynyk is a do-everything type of player. Big men who can shoot, dribble, and pass are rare players in the league, and Olynyk checks those boxes. After Mike Conley was traded, Olynyk was one of the only natural passers left on the team, and his ability to connect the offense was crucial to keep the Jazz afloat. He can grab a defensive rebound and take the ball up the court on a fast break, attack off the dribble, and even run a pick-and-roll as the ball-handler.
Kelly had one of the best shooting seasons of his career. He has always been a solid three-point shooter, but he turned it up to 39% this season. He was reliable all year long, hitting shots all over the court. His ability to play the power forward or the center position gave Utah flexibility to run big lineups without sacrificing shooting.
The worst-case season for Olynyk is still pretty good. That’s the best thing about having veteran players who know their roles. Kelly has been on good teams, bad teams, and in-between teams. He’s been a starter, and he’s been a reserve. No matter what, he stays a consistently solid player. At 32, Olynyk isn’t a young player anymore, but he shouldn’t be in danger of falling off due to age. Most players maintain solid play through their early 30s before age catches up.
With John Collins's acquisition and Justin Hendricks' drafting, Utah’s frontcourt is more crowded than last season. Olynyk may still be the best player of those three, but will Coach Hardy lean towards youth over the veteran? The worst-case scenario for the Canadian big man would be losing minutes to both players.
Best case scenario
As with the worst case, the best case is nothing crazy. We know what we’re going to get from Kelly Olynyk. Sure, some things can go up or down, but for the most part, he is the player he will be. The best-case scenario for Kelly would be another elite shooting season, with an uptick in ball-handling and passing to make him an actual secondary creator. Olynyk can put the ball on the floor and create offense. It doesn’t always look the prettiest, but it gets the job done.
Olynyk’s production will come down to his minutes. If he keeps up his production, he’ll likely earn minutes over the other forward options not named Lauri Markkanen and take the backup center minutes.
Kelly Olynyk is fresh off one of his best seasons and a bronze medal run with Team Canada. He’s set to be a key contributor for Utah once again. Hopefully, he can be a valuable veteran in a young locker room and a positive force on the court.