Celtics urge Olynyk to be more aggressive

Celtics urge Olynyk to be more aggressive
July 7, 2013, 4:45 pm
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ORLANDO, Fla. —  You need to shoot the ball more.

Those are words you seldom hear a coach tell an NBA rookie, let alone one playing in his first NBA summer league game which tends to look more like a week-long shotapalooza event.

And yet even as Kelly Olynyk dropped 25 points in his summer league debut on Sunday, his coaches collectively felt he should have been more aggressive - a lot more aggressive - in Boston's 95-88 loss to Orlando.

"He had some shots that he turned down," said Jay Larranaga who is the Celtics' summer league coach. "He's such an unselfish player. We just keep encouraging him to shoot when he's open."

And from their perspective, he was open a lot.

Because of that, there's a strong sense among the C's coaches that he should have taken more than 12 shots (he made nine of them) from the field which was still more than any other Celtics player.

Olynyk, whom the C's acquired by trading up to the No. 13 pick in last month's NBA draft, acknowledges being a more assertive player at both ends of the floor is an area he needs to improve upon.

"It's tough because I think I'm kind of an unselfish player sometimes; sometimes to fault," Olynyk said. "They're telling me to shoot the ball when I'm open, that kind of stuff. I have to work on that."

Newly hired Celtics coach Brad Stevens was at today's game and like most onlookers, was impressed with Olynyk's play.

"He made shots off the bounce which is really a positive thing," Stevens said. "I don't want him to be reluctant at all shooting the basketball. He did so many things that would be a tough matchup at a big position."

Being a legit 7-footer, Olynyk's ability to score in multiple ways creates a potential nightmare matchup for defenses.

Against the Magic, Olynyk showed he could score with his back to the basket when matched up with a smaller defender on switches.

And when Orlando had a center defending him, Olynyk usually took him farther away from the basket where he could utilize his long-range shooting touch.

"It's such an asset to a team to have that, to have a big that can stretch the floor," said Olynyk who converted two of his four 3-point attempts. "It opens up driving lanes for guards. It's something I'm trying ot focus on."

He's also adapting to the more physical nature of the NBA, something he got an up-close and personal view of after taking a shot to the mouth from Orlando's Andrew Nicholson.

"You definitely have to adapt to that kind of stuff," Olynyk said. "It didn't catch me off guard or anything. You have to hold your ground, not back down and be physical yourself."

After the play, Celtics forward Jared Sullinger who is with the team but not playing while still recovering from back surgery, had a few words for the rookie.

"I was letting him know he needs to be aggressive," Sullinger said.

And like the C's coaches, Sullinger was on him to look for his offense more as well.

"Kelly's a great basketball player, as you can see," Sullinger said. "He has an inside game, he has an outside game. He just has to be more aggressive. Every time he touches he should look to score.  Open shots, he's got to shoot them. Sometimes he'll have to shoot contested shots.  he needs to be more assertive and be more aggressive and let these guys know that he came to play. Other than that, he's playing well."