Gonzaga's 7-foot Olynyk could interest Sixers

Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk (left), a first-team all-American, made 63 percent of his shots last season. He averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.
Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk (left), a first-team all-American, made 63 percent of his shots last season. He averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. (JULIE JACOBSON / Associated Press)
Posted: May 21, 2013

Of all the positions on the 76ers, none is more of a concern heading into next season than the center spot.

Time will tell if the organization brings back Andrew Bynum, an unrestricted free agent who never played a game for the team.

The organization could try to fill that need by selecting Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk in the June 27 NBA draft. The Sixers will likely be awarded the draft's 11th pick during Tuesday night's NBA draft lottery in New York.

Mock drafts by NBAdraft.net and other websites have the team using that pick on Olynyk. However, the 7-foot power forward/center from Kamloops, British Columbia, said he did not interview with the Sixers at last week's NBA draft combine in Chicago.

"I like his development curve that he's shown so far," said an NBA scout who asked to remain anonymous. "He came into school as kind of gawky and awkward. He's still not the most fluid athlete. But he plays with good passion and he really can shoot."

Olynyk, who left Gonzaga after his redshirt junior season, displayed his shooting prowess at the combine. He separated himself during drills when the centers had to step out and shoot jumpers.

Named a first-team all-American by the Associated Press, Olynyk made 63 percent of his shots last season. He averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.

Olynyk runs the floor well and can score off the dribble.

"I was very impressed by his face-up shooting touch that extends beyond the NBA three-point range," the scout said. "He didn't take a ton of threes [at Gonzaga] but definitely has the range."

Olynyk played guard before he grew seven inches in high school.

"My dad [Ken, the former head coach at the University of Toronto] coached me when I was little and always tried to force me into playing on the perimeter to get that skill set," he said during the draft combine. He said he learned "to be able to handle the ball and see the floor, shoot the ball, and that kind of carried through."

If there's a negative, it would be Olynyk's relatively narrow wingspan (6-93/4) for a player of his size.

But that shouldn't prevent him from being a mid-first-round selection. If he's available, the Sixers have to decide if his skill set fits in their future.


Contact Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @pompeysgridlock.

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