The NBA season is just over a week away with tip off set for October 29th. Gonzaga has two rookies currently in the NBA in Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris, and both have gotten off to decent starts so far.
Both Olynyk and Harris are trying to establish themselves with the Celtics and Lakers. Harris is fighting for one of the last spots on the Lakers’ roster, while Olynyk is working at becoming a starter for the new look Celtics.
Harris, who went undrafted, thus far has seen limited minutes in the preseason. He is averaging 12.4 minutes per game in the five games he has played. The Lakers need to cut their roster to 15 players by the start of the season and Harris is right on the edge. After Darius Johnson-Odom was let go by the Lakers, three players are the candidates for the final roster position: Elias Harris, Ryan Kelly, and Marcus Landry.
Luckily for Harris, he has a partial guaranteed contract ($100,000) and has played well in the short time he has seen. He is only averaging 3 points per game but has shown some of his versatility. Harris is in the process of making the transition to the small forward position from the power forward spot he played in college. If Harris can continue to show some of the athleticism he possesses, he should be able to beat out Kelly and Landry. Kelly has been recovering still from his foot injury and has only played in two preseason games. Landry has averaged more points than Harris at 4.2 points per game, but looks like he still will be cut by the Lakers due to his inconsistent play.
Kelly Olynyk was drafted 13th overall by the Celtics and has some expectations to live up to. After the team went through a major overhaul trading away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Olynyk is expected to begin the rebuilding process.
Thus Far, Olynyk has not disappointed. After his stellar NBA summer league, Olynyk has not slowed down. Averaging 11 points per game, Olynyk has been efficient. In his past three preseason games he has shot better than 62 % from the field, and in two of those games he shot over 80% from the field.
Olynyk’s game is about efficiency and thus far he has been able to show it. The Celtics currently have a very crowded frontcourt with Jared Sullinger, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, and Brandon Bass. Olynyk may be able to win the starting center position, but it will be interesting to see how the Celtics lineup shapes out.
While Olynyk and Harris are both looking to find their role in the NBA, their roles will be different. Harris is trying to make it with the Lakers, while Olynyk is trying to be a key player for the Celtics. It is hard to get a true read on how each players will perform based off the preseason, but both players have made impressions. Hopefully Harris can latch on to the Lakers while Olynyk can find his way to the starting lineup. Either way both players will have a shot to play in the NBA and thus far have had a good showing.
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