Draft profiles: Kelly Olynyk, 7'0, 240 lbs, C/PF, Gonzaga

Draft profiles: Kelly Olynyk, 7'0, 240 lbs, C/PF, Gonzaga

Olynyk lacks speed and athleticism as a Power Forward, and may lack the strength to handle the physicality of playing center.  However, he is a very savvy player, and isn't a complete stiff athletically.


At 7’0, Olynyk has the height for a true center but with a 6’9 wing-span may also play a role at PF.  Olynyk has generally played a finesse game rather than a physical showing more of a forward attitude than a center one. 

Off-Court Issues

There are no reported issues with Olynyk off the court.

Basketball IQ and Will to Want It

Basketball IQ wise, Olynyk is off the charts.  He knows his limitations, angles, passing, etc…  This is the reason I feel his game will translate as an off-the-bench type player.  Olynyk sees the court well and knows where to be at all times.  He does and knows the little things like when and where to set a pick, the right spot to roll to afterwards, and how to find open space on the floor.

While Olynyk is very skilled and plays hard, the will to want it is a concern.  At seven feet tall, Olynyk only grabbed 7 rebounds per game, and while he's improved his physique and offers nice size he still doesn't make much of an impact defensively.  He plays hard, but he needs to be tougher-minded.


Skill-wise, you will not find many more skilled big men than Olynyk.  His plays like Luis Scola in many ways though lacks Scola's toughness.  Offensively, he possesses great footwork, a good low-post game with hooks over either shoulder, turn-around jumpers, and a very good mid-range jumper.  In the NBA, he'll likely develop a three point shot down the road and serve a roll as a stretch 4/5.  Olynyk also possesses great passing ability out of the post to open shooters.

However, Olynyk is very weak defensively.   He'll need to play next to a strong defensive presence to cover for him and will need to improve considerably on the glass as well.  Also, given his lack of toughness overall, it will be interesting to see if his low post game translates to the NBA. He'll need to learn to play a much more physical brand of basketball.


Overall, Olynyk presents a high skill level for a big man which is hard to find. Whether he can play physically enough to manage time at center and utilize his low post game will be question marks at the next level. He'll likely never be a two way player, but his shooting should eventually make him a capable role player as a stretch four if he continues to work at it.

How does he fit with the Bulls?

Bulls need more offensive creators and Olynyk provides that.  If he slides at pick 20, I would be very intrigued by him if Gorgui Dieng, Tim Hardaway Jr., and a few others don’t slide.  I definitely would rather have him than Mason Plumlee or Tony Mitchell Jr.  Stating this, I have not heard him mentioned at all for workouts with the Bulls and wonder if they would take him based on defensive limitations and toughness.  I personally would be intrigued due to his offensive skill-set which is NBA ready.

My impressions

Olynyk is a similar type player to Luis Scola.  He can score at the elbow really well, passes solidly, is skilled, and can post up with some great footwork and hook on either side of shoulder.  I think he'll have a long career as a role player.


Leave a comment
  • The Bulls FO shouldn't even watse their time looking at this guy. The Bulls need to draft a player with some athletic ability rather it be at center or shooting guard. And have the Bulls been doing any pre draft workouts with any of the players besides the big kid from Kansas. I guess the Bulls FO is in top secret mode cause i haven't seen barely any draft updates of who the Bulls are bringing in. All this secrecy crap for them to do nothing likely.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    What do you think they're going to do with their draft position that isn't viewed as "nothing".

    If you're unhappy with whom they've brought in with late picks, then you're crazy. They have been one of the most successful teams in the NBA with late picks.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Well Doug...there are some rumors saying the Bulls may draft another European player and stash him for 3 or 4 years. And as far as late picks...are you talking about the Bulls late picks this year or their past picks. I've never said the picks in the past were bad picks, I just hate their hush hush ways "THIS YEAR". I agree they have had good picks in the past, but tgat wasn't what iwas talking about. I'm just trying to see who have they brought in this year for workouts.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    If that Eurostash was Dario Saric, I would be thrilled.

    However, I believe that he has officially withdrawn from the draft.

    Does anybody know if that means that he can still be drafted in the second round. Doug, Kevin?

  • In reply to Reese1:

    at least last year they were feeding us fake leaks like they love Will Barton but also liked Doron Lamb,etc. Remember the whole "combo guard" thing when all along they were targeting a backup point guard because of Rose's injury. The Bulls are kind of predictable, with Noah having alot of injury problems, they will go with Jeff Withey from a big time college program since Dieng is said to have knee problems. The DX has us taking Hardaway Jr and that would be great but thats not how the Bulls work, the plan to get a center in the draft was probably made last summer when they decided to part ways with the great wall of turkey, Omer Asik. I hope I'm wrong but I doubt it, Withey has Bulls written all over him. Not a bad player but they should bring both of them in, put feelings for Teague out in a trade.

  • i don't mind the secrecy, after all this is a competition. The draft is just 1 week away and I care about the basketball results. I just wish Rein$dorf's competitive will to add championship level basketball talent to his roster equaled his competitive will to pocket tens of millions in profits annually off the backs of Chicago sports fans.

  • In reply to Edward:

    You can't charge an owner with improving a basketball team. That's the FO's job. I don't think money has stopped the Bulls from adding a championship-type player to date, though it did stop them from retaining Asik, which Doug and everyone else has lamented about.

    I just wish Reinsdorf demanded more from his FO than a competitive team. I wish he put winning championships above all and held his FO to that standard, the way Rocky Wirtz does with the Blackhawks. Even if Reinsdorf did, though, it would take some creative maneuvering and some risk-taking to bring in the type of talent that would make the Bulls into champs. This FO doesn't do well in those areas.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I agree that GarPax are rather pedestrian. And I agree that Rein$dorf doesn't demand enough basketball wise from his front office.

    However, imo, this is entirely by design as Rein$dorf wants a FO who accepts the financial restraints placed upon them and won't complain publicly. GarPax fit that description - they are unimaginative and obedient Yes Men who are loyal to Rein$dorf. Rein$dorf isn't looking for creative risk-takers. Rein$dorf is a CPA/attorney and risk adverse.

    Rein$dorf's restraints are financial and profits take priority over basketball decisions and winning championships. There has been a clear shift in Rein$dorf's behavior since the owner planned NBA Lockout/CBA/Luxury Tax of 1998. Rein$dorf has gone 15 seasons with 0 NBA Championships, 0 Eastern Conference Championships, missed the playoffs entirely 7 times, and just once has gotten past the 2nd round (2011). Yet, Rein$dorf is fine with that performance as Bulls regularly lead the NBA in attendance and profits.

    I'm not saying Rein$dorf doesn't want to win more championships, I am saying he is unwilling to pay extra for them unlike other NBA owners. The next CBA in 2017 will bring a HardCap that will prevent any owners from outspending to win. Rein$dorf is a very patient man...

  • In reply to Edward:


  • In reply to Roman F:


  • In reply to Edward:

    I often resort to sarcasm because this whole line of argument is frustrating to me, because there are more acute problems with this team that never get addressed due to the eternal, misguided cries of cheapness by the same 3-4 people who repeat them each and every day. More acute problems like an unwillingness to take risks and inability to swing the big deal, and too much loyalty by the owner to an A-to-B front office. Maybe there's a grand plan to avoid competitiveness but more likely, GarPax just aren't that good at their jobs.

    There isn't much evidence that spending big is how you win in the NBA. This isn't MLB. it's not lack of spending that's stopping the Bulls, it's how they spend it. Danny Ainge does not get greater resources in Boston than GarPax do in Chicago, he's just a better GM. Spurs have never been big spenders either, they're just a better organization (the best in the NBA, IMO).

    But where you really lose me is with "unlike other NBA owners". No, other owners are not willing to spend more. They're all under the same constraints -- and multiple posters have pointed this out time and again on this blog. Aronson, despite his public statements, isn't going to pay the tax either. He has a good PR guy telling him what to say and fans eat it up. The only team that really used to pay the tax consistently was the Lakers, they are unique and the Yankees of the NBA. And even they aren't going to pay the tax anymore.

    Also, I find it extremely hard to believe that a 77-year-old is patiently waiting for anything.

    If you want to make the argument that the Bulls should be the lone exception, other than the Lakers, by outspending the rest of the NBA, that's a viable argument and one that Doug sometimes makes. Personally, I think Reinsdorf is a good owner, but he's not a great owner and he should be. If anyone was given the opportunity to be a great owner, it's him.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Bascially agree with you, other than including the Knicks and Nets as teams that are basically willing to spend whatever they are allowed to. I also think that Miami will continue to do so as long as they have Lebron.

  • Something about Olynyk screams softie and I am not a fan of those type of guys. My guess is that you and pretty much everybody else on this site would prefer Dieng over Olynyk, even though they bring a completely opposite skill set to the table.

    For what it is worth, Olynyk seems to be projected going before the Bulls pick in most mock drafts, and Dieng typically goes at or after the Bulls pick.

    As I mentioned once before, I have read that NBA talent evaluators believe that he is as offensively skilled as any player in this draft. I have no idea is this is true, but it does raise my attention level on a player that my gut says to stay away from.

  • I don't really know Olynyk but based on the description, it sounds like he could be a useful piece. Bulls need offense yet everyone says to stay away from this player, who could bring some offense to the table. Olynyk does seem to have a pretty low ceiling and could be a total bust, but it's not like there are future superstars to be had with the 20th pick.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Not my first choice, but he is skilled offensively and could provide scoring. Stating this, w/ Mirotic coming next year (2014), really don't need him.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Agree, sort of about the relavance of Mirotic, as both he and Olynyk are in the stretch 4 category of player. Then again, given the Bulls general offensive struggles, it would not hurt to have multiple players who are offensive threats.

    I would still take Dieng first if available, but Olynyk should merit serious consideration from the Bulls.

    Is Lucas Nogierra among your upcoming profiles, sort of in the same category as Dieng but less developed.

Leave a comment