With the 13th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks selected Kelly Olynyk, who was
perceived to be Dirk 2.0 immediately traded to the Boston Celtics for a higher first-round pick and two second-round picks. With a rumored large trade involving Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn completing a Celtics fire-sale, what could Olynyk bring to the table?
The size between Olynyk and Garnett is fairly negligible: the big guy from Gonzaga is listed at 7-0, 238 lbs, while Garnett is "only" listed at 6-11, 220 lbs. Olynyk will only get larger with NBA training in summer league, and with the mass exodus from Beantown, it is pretty much assumed that he will make the starting five in the fall.
Garnett, just a high school senior when he was drafted out of Chicago's Farragut high school, was criticized that his "low-post game needed improvement and he needed to work on shooting." Olynyk, on the other hand, does fairly well at the low-post, and was a strong shooter all last season, averaging 17.8 PPG after his red-shirt exile that cemented his maturation process.
Scouts fear that Olynyk will be a poor shot-blocker at the professional level for his size, and that having played in a "weaker conference" might hurt his ability to rebound. This is actually not much different from Garnett in his Boston era, as he only averaged 1.0 blocks and 8.3 rebounds per game in his six seasons with the Celtics. That is a significant percentage drop from his career numbers of 1.5 blocks and 10.5 boards.
Another factor to consider, though this may be more intangible than anything else: Olynyk played college ball. He developed a sense of how to play the game and his position at Gonzaga. That should allow him to make immediate impacts at the pro level. Olynyk is a threat when he's on the court whether he has the ball or not because he shows an understanding for the game and his duty as a player.
As a result of the Celtics eagerness to pick up Olynyk in the draft, I think it can be safe to assume that Garnett's time is truly done in the Boston Garden. But the Bulldog star will quickly be able to fill the big shoes that K.G. is leaving behind.