Houston Rockets

Kelly Olynyk: The Houston Rockets are reminding us that the Canadian can be more than just a floor spacer

It has been 16 games since the Houston Rockets acquired Kelly Olynyk and he's appeared in 15 of them, playing better than advertised.

Olynyk is averaging 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists while shooting 59.4 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from 3-point range. It's been a breakout season for Olynyk, averaging career-highs in points, rebounds and assists, and it's coming at the perfect time - Olynyk will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

In a class that lacks star power, Olynyk should have multiple suitors who hope to secure a stretch big who's still in the prime of his career.

The trade to Houston may have been seen as a negative for Olynyk's career - there were rumours that he might have been bought out or waived by the Rockets - but instead, it has put him in a position to display his best talents in an offensive-friendly system.

Even though Mike D'Antoni is gone, Houston's offence still emphasizes two things - getting to the rim and taking threes. According to Cleaning The Glass, Houston ranks in the top five in both percentage of shots taken at the rim (shots within four feet of the basket) and percentage of shots taken from 3-point range.

Under that structure, Olynyk has become uber-efficient.

In Miami, Olynyk was bombing away from deep with 63 percent of his field-goal attempts coming from beyond the arc. It led to him being one-dimensional on offence, but also a career-low 31.7 percent from 3-point range. Since he's been in Houston, he's found more balance to his shot attempts with now 41 percent of his shots coming from three and 45 percent of his shots coming within four feet of the rim. It's led to him posting an effective field-goal percentage of 68.2 percent with the Rockets, which ranks him in the 96th percentile for his position, according to Cleaning the Glass.

Houston deserves credit for using Olynyk differently than Miami. He's still a floor spacer, which will always be a part of his game, but the Rockets have gotten him back to a pick-and-roll threat. In Miami, Olynyk was getting 1.0 pick-and-roll possession per game. Since he's been in Houston, that number is up to 2.4, according to NBA Stats.

The Rockets have used Olynyk as a screener in early offensive possessions and he's taking advantage of the opportunities.

They've also used him in sets like this, something he would've never really had much opportunity to do in Miami.

Olynyk was certainly in a box in Miami and with the talent that was on that roster, that might've been the best use of him. But in Houston, Olynyk has gotten back to the player he was coming out of college: an inside-out threat with the ability to make plays as a roller.

The trade to Houston may end up being a blessing in disguise for Olynyk as he showcases his talents to those who may have forgotten what he's capable of, just in time for 2021 free agency.

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