It appears there’s no bad blood between Kelly Olynyk. In March of 2015, Hassan was having growing pains. As a very passionate player it was common for him to get riled up easily and that’s what happened against the Celtics. Like a charging hockey player, Hassan hit Olynyk from behind and was promptly ejected.
Since that act of frustration, many believed there to be bad blood between the two big men, but that’s not the case. In fact, as Olynyk made clear in interviews at yesterday’s Heat youth camp, they’re getting along great and he’s excited to play with him.
Commenting on his newfound friendship Olynyk said:
“He’s a great guy, a great character. A beast. I’m really excited to play with him, a guy with his size and his abilities on the floor both defensively, offensively and on the glass. I’ve heard nothing but good things about him and meeting him and getting to know him, he’s awesome to be around and I’m really looking forward to playing with him.”
When asked what it’s like to play with a dynamic shot blocker like Whiteside, Olynyk added:
“It’s a blessing for any team to have somebody who can just control the paint and control the game defensively like that. When people can’t get anything easy at the rim, it makes it a lot tougher on teams. We saw that when we played them last season, it’s really tough to maneuver around the lane with him there. Hopefully we don’t put too much burden on him, but it’s a great to have a guy like that behind you.”
Olynyk had some other interesting comments as well. When asked how important it is for a 4, even at 7 ft to be able to shoot the three in today’s NBA he said:
“It’s huge. To be able to space the floor especially if you have guards who can make things happen. By spacing the floor guys have to respect you and can’t just clog the lane. It opens up the floor for everybody, whether it’s shooting, passing dribbling everything just opens up if you can shoot the ball. Especially as a team if you have five people out there who can shoot the ball, it’s really really tough to guard.”
Olynyk’s signing with the Heat was unexpected, but it seems he’s ready to make the most of it. He explained that his goal is to keep growing here as a player and take the next step. It appears he’s already bought into the Heat culture, and if that’s the case his growth will be quick and very exciting.