Miami Heat center Kelly Olynyk is still trying to find his place on the 2017-18 roster.
It seems that so far, the 2017-18 season is one big question mark for the Miami Heat. At 7-9, the team has underwhelmed, playing inconsistently not just from game to game, but unfortunately quarter to quarter as well. The worst part being, it’s hard to pinpoint just what’s wrong.
Sure, there were a couple of personnel changes, something that would cause any group to need a little time to adjust to. Justise Winslow finally returned from injury. Former Boston Celtic Kelly Olynyk joined the crew. Rookie Bam Adebayo was added to the mix.
And yes, there were some health issues early on. Between Rodney McGruder having to undergo surgery to repair a leg fracture, Hassan Whiteside being sidelined for five games with a bone bruise in his knee and Dion Waiters still shaking off a sore ankle… the Heat had a few obstacles to overcome.
But at this point, there are no more excuses. The team simply needs to get back to playing Miami Heat Basketball.
However, one guy hasn’t really gotten a chance to see what that is yet.
Olynyk was signed to a four-year, $50 million deal this offseason, a move that seemingly came out of nowhere for Miami. Nevertheless, there was plenty to be excited about. The big man averaged 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists a game off the bench for the Celtics in 2016-17, sparking great energy within the second unit. So Heat Nation could only imagine what he could do alongside Whiteside, another 7-footer.
The 26-year-old showed promise for the Heat right from the start, too. Take his 23-point game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, for example. Olynyk went 9-of-12 from the field (including 3-for-5 from downtown) in 29 minutes. And also managed to grab six rebounds on the other end.
But since then, he has somewhat disappeared from head coach Erik Spoelstra’s radar.
With his minutes (and therefore production) decreasing, one has to wonder what Olynyk’s role with this team is going to pan out to be. He has only played an average of 15.2 minutes a matchup since Whiteside came back, causing him to average less time with Miami than he ever did with Boston.
All the while, not only have his points per game remained consistent from last year, but his shooting percentages are up. Leaving the only real explanation to be that his defensive skill-set still needs some fine-tuning.
The Miami Heat have a handful of things to figure out, including the type of player they want Kelly Olynyk to develop into for them.