Draft Projection: No. 12: Oklahoma City Thunder
Positives: Insider Only
Negatives: Insider Only
Summary: June 26 Update: Olynyk has one of the widest ranges of anyone in the draft. Why? His game is unique. He's a face-the-basket 4 who thrives by putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket. He's also a good shooter from 15 to 18 feet. On the right team, he could be a very potent weapon. But it's going to have to be the right team. He has serious bust potential on the wrong one.
Quick fact: Olynyk's 36.57 Player Efficiency Rating led the nation this past season.
June 25 Update: Olynyk might have one of the largest ranges of anyone in the draft. He'll get looks as high as No. 11 to the Sixers and No. 12 to the Thunder, but he also could work his way down here. Gorgui Dieng and Tony Snell are other options for the Nets at 22.
June 24 Update: In one way, the consensus is fairly strong on Olynyk, and in another way it's not. All of the teams in our Secret NBA Draft Big Board rated him a 5, 6 or 7, except for one team that rated him at 8. That said, he can be a polarizing figure in the conversations I have with teams. He's a favorite of teams that rely heavily on analytics, but scouts tend to believe his game won't translate to the next level. His draft night range is 11 to 23.
June 18 Update: The Pacers are hoping someone in the top 15 or 20 on our Big Board slides to them. In this scenario, their wish is granted. Olynyk is getting looks as high as the 76ers at No. 11, the Jazz at No. 14, the Celtics at No. 16. But if he slides past those teams, he'd be welcomed with open arms in Indy. The team needs depth everywhere, and Olynyk's ability to play a stretch 4 would offer another weapon off the bench. Tony Snell, Isaiah Canaan and Virginia Tech's Erick Green also are in the mix here.
June 10 Update: Olynyk has worked out for the Sixers (against Mason Plumlee) and Wolves, though I'm not sure either team is an ideal fit. Olynyk is projecting as a 4 at the next level and will likely find more receptive teams that are in need of a stretch 4.
May 28 Update: Olynyk looked like one of the two most skilled big men in the draft during the drills portion of the combine, but he struggled in the athletic testing and measurements portions. Athletically, Olynyk tested as one of the worst athletes in the draft. And when it comes to his size, his T-Rex wingspan seemed problematic. Olynyk is a tough guy to peg. Teams either think he's a fit or he's not.
May 15 Update: The combine should be a good setting for Olynyk. It focuses on his strengths -- skills and running the floor -- and doesn't emphasize his weak areas. There's almost no contact in the drills section. Questions about Olynyk's toughness that have been raised in the past month probably don't get answered in Chicago. However, look for him to show off his jump shot in an attempt to convince scouts that he could be a stretch 4 in the NBA.
May 8 Update (Projected No. 14, Jazz): The Jazz's biggest need is at point guard, but I don't see the next point guard on the board -- Carter-Williams -- as a fit. The Jazz need their point guards to be able to shoot the basketball, and that's Carter-Williams' biggest weakness. The Jazz also will have needs in the frontcourt. With Al Jefferson most likely leaving this summer via free agency, they'll need big bodies. Olynyk was the most efficient big man in college basketball and would add another wrinkle to a bright up-and-coming tandem of Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors.
May 2 Update: The international scouts that I spoke to last week love Olynyk. Why? He has the game of a European big man. He's very skilled, can score from anywhere and has a sophisticated feel for the game. Whether that game translates to the next level is still up for debate among NBA scouts. A few have him in the top 5, others in the late 20s. The Wizards, Sixers, Thunder, Mavs and Jazz are all potential homes in the lottery for Olynyk.
Apr 23 Update Olynyk has declared for the 2013 NBA Draft. Olynyk went from redshirt to one of the most efficient big men in America this year. He is a skilled big man who can score facing up or with his back to the basket. His handle and agility for a big man are other standout qualities. While scouts worry a bit about his rebounding and toughness, many scouts see him as a unique Pau Gasol type player in the NBA. A potential lottery pick.
Apr 2 Update: There's nothing really new to report on Olynyk except that Gonzaga's second-round loss to Wichita State doesn't look so bad after the Shockers did the same thing to LaSalle and Ohio State. We are waiting for Olynyk to officially declare, but multiple sources believe he'll be in the 2013 draft.
Mar 26 Update: Olynyk had a chance to propel himself into the top 10 in the draft with a strong tournament. He averaged 23 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in the tournament, but Gonzaga's loss combined with a less efficient game stopped his meteoric rise a bit. Olynyk seems more comfortable facing the basket when stacked up against more physical, athletic defenders. While he clearly has the skills to play out of the high post and on the wing, his value drops a bit for scouts if that's all he is. A handful of GMs are convinced he's more of a hybrid stretch 4 at the next level. If he is, then we might have him just a tad too high on our board.
Mar 19 Update: All eyes will be on Olynyk. He's risen from obscurity to a potential lottery pick with his play this season. He's dominated the West Coast Conference, but the real test will come against elite talent from other conferences. His first true challenge could come against Pitt in the second round (assuming both teams make it there).
Mar 13 Update: NBA scouts continue to warm on Olynyk as a potential lottery to mid-first-round pick. Olynyk has the top PER in college basketball (36.58) and the second-highest offensive rating (ORtg), at 125.8, of any player in the country who uses at least 28 percent of his team's possessions. Olynyk's size, agility and skill set are terrific for a 7-footer. The only knock on him has been the level of competition he has played against in a somewhat watered down West Coast Conference. If he can play with the same level of efficiency in the NCAA tournament, Olynyk has a chance to be a top-10 pick in this draft.
Feb 27 Update: Olynyk is gaining momentum as we head toward the end of the season. While many scouts were skeptical that a player who redshirted the previous season because he wasn't going to get playing time could transform, overnight, into an NBA prospect. But his hyper-efficient game is making believers of them. While players like Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo are the favorites to win player of the year, no one is having a more efficient or dominant season that Olynyk right now.
Jan 28 Update: Olynyk is a legit 7-footer who is physically mature, has a big, strong body and is skilled with a deft shooting touch around the basket and from range. Olynyk is not a great athlete, opposing offenses like to involve him in ball-screen action and he is not a high-volume shot-blocker. But he understands the game and knows how to play.
A face-up player when he first arrived at Gonzaga, Olynyk is now a low-post threat who can step away. Plus, he is able to use his size and skill to make smart moves and counters in the post and score with tremendous efficiency. In fact, there is not a more efficient big man in the nation than Olynyk. He turns the ball over at too high of a rate, but Olynyk has shown that he can play in both physical and fast-paced games.
Dec 31 Update: Olynyk has put it all together this season. When he arrived in Spokane, the Canadian 7-footer was a skilled, face-up power forward who could stretch you, but he did not venture into the post as much, and did not carry the bulk to bang bodies in the paint. This year, Olynyk is bigger, stronger and tougher, and has played a more versatile game. This season, Olynyk is averaging over 15 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting 68 percent from the floor and 79 percent from the free throw line. He is not a shot-blocker, but can move his feet to guard ball screens, and he can play pick-and-pop, or roll hard to drag the defense with him.