For the Celtics, things could not have been going much worse. They’d missed their first six shots and had been outrebounded by the Wizards, 8-0. The game was not yet four minutes old, but already the Boston faithful at TD Garden was groaning as the Celtics trailed, 16-3. They were on pace to give up 194 points.
That’s when Kelly Olynyk checked in for the Celtics. And boy, did he save their Canadian bacon in this one.
“Kelly came in and was huge for us,” said Al Horford, the man Olynyk replaced. “I feel like he made some big plays and just the way that he played in the first half really helped us when we were hurting to score the ball.”
That confluence of factors created the center bumper crop, which reared its head last summer and has only grown since. In a development that would dumbfound pundits from decades ago, even talented big men on reasonable contracts could be poor uses of salary cap space for some teams.
“Then you get young guys who are still getting better on the job. To me, Erik Spoelstra is the best one in that category. He is a coach who can adapt, he can be a leader, he is steady in how he handles himself and his team, and he has proven himself.
It’s hard for many to see through the bluster to the common-sense, individualistic foundation Ball is laying down. Yet it’s as simple as the old Chris Rock joke: Shaq is rich, but the man that signs Shaq’s check is wealthy.
The check Lonzo Ball would have gotten from one of the big shoe companies would have been enormous. It also would have been someone else’s check.
Not everybody is satisfied with that, and not everybody is supposed to be.