In his third year as a Celtic, Kelly Olynyk had begun to carve out a nice role off the bench. When aggressive, Olynyk had shown ample offensive skill and he had a knack to shoot the three ball at a high percentage.
Unfortunately, on February 10th, he suffered a dislocated right shoulder when DeAndre Jordan landed on him after Olynyk drew Jordan into the air with a pump fake during a 114-109 Celtics win. This shoulder injury shut down Olynyk for 12 games, and the Celtics went 7-5 in his absence.
During his 12 game absence, Kelly Olynyk spent a lot of time rehabbing the shoulder to try and get his body back to 100 percent, but when he returned some of the shoulder discomfort still remained. He played through the injury during the final 15 regular season games and his numbers were relatively stable across the board.
Then, in game 1 of the 2016 Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks, Olynyk re-aggravated his shoulder injury. After scoring 2 points and recording one rebound as well as one assist in 12 minutes in game 1, Kelly would go on to miss games 2 and 3. In games 4, 5 and 6, he recorded 20 total minutes and scored no points.
After briefly considering playing in the Olympics with Canada, he opted to undergo surgery on his shoulder instead. The procedure took place on May 16th and the timeline for rehab was five months, which would be in the middle of October. This could potentially cause him to miss all of training camp, the preseason and possibly regular season action as well.
According to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE, these fears could soon become reality.
"The timetable for his return is sometime next month, but could spill into the start of the regular season. Unsure of how he will perform once he’s back on the floor, that’s likely to cool teams off from inquiring about him too much.
But Olynyk is very much a player to keep an eye on in terms of trade possibilities. He has a tremendous offensive skill set when it comes to shooting or putting the ball on the floor. But throughout his time in Boston, he has been inconsistent with his play. Far too often he will look to get others involved when he has the greatest mismatch for the Celtics to exploit. It’s a tough balancing act, for sure. Better recognition is one of those things Olynyk has to get better at."
Well, it’s certainly a good thing that the Celtics bolstered their front court with the addition of Al Horford over the summer. Potentially starting the season without one of your best three point shooters is definitely cause for concern. As a team, the Celtics shot 38.4 percent from the field and 27.5 percent from the three point line in their 6 game series against the Hawks that they would go on to lose 4-2.
The injuries to Olynyk, as well as shooting guard Avery Bradley, made things a lot easier for Atlanta defensively. They decided to focus their defense on shutting down the Celtics' only potent offensive threat, Isaiah Thomas. The Hawks succeeded, even though Thomas averaged more points per game (24.2) than the regular season (22.2), the Hawks defense held Thomas well below his normal shooting percentages.
It’s crucial that Kelly Olynyk returns from his shoulder injury 100 percent healthy. He is a high percentage shooter at his best, and going into the last year of his rookie deal, I’m sure he has a lot to play for. The Celtics decided to not offer an extension to Olynyk, so he’ll have to earn that with his play this season.