Kelly Olynyk is 7-foot. He does wear No. 41. He has a pretty nice jumper. And, well, yes, he is white.
So naturally the Boston Celtics’ string-haired, outside-shooting center-forward is the next coming of Dirk Nowitzki. Well, maybe if you’re Celtics legend and broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn. Obviously peering through thick green-lens-glasses, Heinsohn a few nights ago after Olynyk had a nice game in a win over the Phoenix Suns, said Olynyk has "the potential to be better than Dirk Nowitzki."
Nowitzki, of course, is the NBA’s sixth all-time leading scorer, a 13-time All-Star, a former league MVP and NBA Finals MVP. And, yeah, he’s not exactly feeling the comparison. Here’s his reaction, via ESPN, when asked about it following his 31-point, 11-rebound performance Monday as Dallas beat the Celtics in overtime:
Article continues below ...
Olynyk, in his third season with the Celtics after a nice career at Gonzaga, is averaging 9.9 points and will not make his first All-Star team when those selections are announced in the coming weeks.
Before doing both players the injustice of such a comparison, perhaps we should wait for Olynyk to crack the Celtics’ starting lineup and log more than the 20.5 minutes a game that Boston coach Brad Stevens sees fit to play him.
Added Nowitzki: "He’s got a long way to go."
“Yeah, I mean, I like the kid. I'm just not sure about all that. But I really do like him. He's a good shooter. He's improved from year to year, so I do wish him the best. He can be a really good player, but I don't know if his ceiling is all the way up there.”