Simple equation: When Kelly Olynyk scores, the Detroit Pistons win

Kelly Olynyk #41 of the Houston Rockets(Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
Kelly Olynyk #41 of the Houston Rockets(Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons have not won many games this season, but a common thread through many of those rare victories is the play of Kelly Olynyk. Basically, when he scores a lot, Detroit wins.

The salary cap-strapped Pistons did not have much money to make a free agent splash in the off-season. However, they did make one major free agent signing: forward/center Kelly Olynyk.

The 6-foot-11 Canadian inked a three-year, $37 million deal and was expected to help the Pistons poor three-point shooting, as well as giving the team a solid veteran to help in crunch time. Although Olynyk last played in bottom-feeder Houston, he had been a key substitute for Miami and Boston when they made deep playoff runs.

Unfortunately, Olynyk has started out being more on the injury list than in the lineup. He suffered a bad knee sprain in the 10th game of the season, missed two months, played two games (including a great 22 point effort in a win over Sacramento), and was sidelined once again due to COVID-19.

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Through the win over Charlotte, Olynyk has only played in 24 of the Pistons’ 61 games. Obviously a small sample, but an interesting factoid has come out of it. When Olynyk’s shooting is on, Detroit has a much better chance of winning:

Pistons record when Kelly Olynyk scores 10 or more points: 5-6 (5-2 since Oct. 30)

Pistons record when Kelly Olynyk either does not play or scores less than 10: 10-40

Taking out the first four games of the season, when a young Detroit team was feeling itself out, the Pistons are an amazing 5-2 when Olynyk scored 10 or more points. Considering Detroit has just 15 wins on the entire season, it is a fascinating mark.

The Pistons are almost a playoff team when Kelly Olynyk scores double-digits

Why is Detroit a borderline playoff team when Olynyk is in a scoring groove? Basically, for the same reasons he was signed.

  • Olynyk brings the experience of not only a veteran, but one who has been involved in tough playoff series against LeBron James’ Lakers and Cavaliers squads. He knows what a team needs to do to win, and he has been imparting that knowledge to the younger players.
  • As an outside shooting post player, Olynyk draws the other team’s center away from the basket. That allows the Pistons slashers, Hamidou Diallo, Jerami Grant, Cade Cunningham, and even Killian Hayes lately, to attack the rim.
  • Although not a rim-protector, Olynyk can hold his own on the defensive end. When Isaiah Stewart is not in the game, his big body is needed to take up space.
  • When Olynyk is ‘on’, it makes things a lot easier for the rest on the offensive end. Other players can relax and just play their game, which makes them even more effective shooters.

Next. Detroit Pistons depth chart when Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk return. dark

While Kelly Olynyk seemed like a nice player to add to the team, the way the roster is constructed, he has become a crucial part of any success they have. Who would have thought this back when he signed in July?