It’s been an exciting offseason for the Detroit Pistons. After drafting a pair of electric players in the lottery, this might be the most impressive young core in the NBA. Understandably, fans have taken notice.
And why wouldn’t they? With guys like Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren it feels like the sky’s the limit over the next few years. Truly this is one of the best collections of youth and talent that we’ve seen in a long time.
One name not mentioned above is Kelly Olynyk. That’s because he’s not particularly young and in terms of talent he’s fighting for a rotational role with this team. It has left many wondering what Olynyk’s role on this team will be.
However, Kelly Olynyk still has a lot of value for this team and it will be on Dwayne Casey and eventually Troy Weaver to maximize it.
Detroit Pistons: Kelly Olynyk in the rotation
With Isaiah Stewart transitioning to more of a power forward role there will be available minutes at the center position. Olynyk should get the majority of these minutes coming off the bench.
With Olynyk as the primary backup center, the Pistons second unit would have excellent floor spacing and shooting. This will not only help the team as a whole, but specifically it will help young point guard Killian Hayes.
Opening things up for Hayes and building his confidence at the NBA level is critical for his development. Working with a big like Olynyk does that. This should allow Hayes to drive and distribute at will, while giving him space and a quality shooter to work with in the pick-and-roll.
Kelly Olynyk as mentor
Olynyk has always had a nice offensive skill set. His soft touch and ability to shoot have allowed him to have a long NBA career to this point. Considering that Olynyk is a very average athlete, you could say he brings a lot of savvy and craftiness with his game.
This is knowledge that can be passed down. Say, for example, to an 18-year-old big man who the Detroit Pistons took in the lottery. Of course, I’m referring to Jalen Duren.
The big man out of Memphis has outstanding physical gifts and many believe he has the capacity to develop a nice offensive game. However, at such a young age he is still very raw compared to most in the league. It will take time to put it all together with consistency.
With a guy like Olynyk, Duren could do a lot of watching and learning. Being able to take away some of that craftiness and fine tune fundamentals is incredibly valuable for this rookie. Olynyk not only allows him to do that, but can actually help him as a mentor.
Kelly Olynyk has trade value
You know what NBA teams never seem to have enough of? Quality shooters. If nothing else, Olynyk can provide that in the form of a big man off the bench.
There will be a team that needs this at the trade deadline. Whether it be due to injuries or just the need to improve depth, Olynyk will be a desirable piece. I anticipate the Detroit Pistons being more than willing to trade him for future assets when that time comes.
This would open more playing time for Duren, who would have time to adjust to the NBA at this point. And while the return for Olynyk might not be anything too spectacular, it’s always good to gain draft picks.
Olynyk brings experience and shooting. The Pistons should value him and keep him as a key member of their rotation. He makes this team better and he makes the young talent around him better.
With that said, his long term future in Detroit should very much be in doubt. As much value as he brings to the Pistons, there will likely be a contender that wants a guy just like Olynyk. When that time comes it makes sense for everybody to move on.