The Celtics and rookie head coach Brad Stevens have a GOOD problem on their hands. They have two talented big men who both make valuable cases to becoming the starting center in Boston.
The question is: Vitor Faverani or Kelly Olynyk?
Vitor Faverani came out of Spain and made a big impression in the preseason. Over the course of this young season, Faverani has averaged 6.1 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, and 1.6 blocks per game. Faverani had a huge game in the Celtics home opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. He exploded for 12 points, 18 rebounds, and 6 blocks in 37 minutes of play. What I find puzzling is after that game, Brad Stevens progressively played him less and less after the season opener. With his minutes being dropped, Faverani's production dropped. Excluding his first two games, Faverani has averaged 3.6 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game, and 0.4 blocks per game. Not as impressive... Faverani is a great shot blocker and he uses his big body to clog the paint and driving lanes. The Spaniard has his starting role revoked in the latest game against the Heat and he only played 3 minutes totaling 2 points in the game. Was this the right decision by Brad Stevens?
Kelly Olynyk is considered a cornerstone for the Celtics in upcoming seasons after he dominated at Gonzaga. Olynyk played off the bench for the Celtics' first six games and was relatively effective off the bench. His averages while serving as a bench scorer were 9.8 points per game, and 5.6 rebounds per game. Pretty Good. Contrary to Faverani, Olynyk played more and more minutes as the season went on. In his first career start in the NBA against the Heat on Saturday night Olynyk totaled 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Most people look upon this performance as one of his weaker ones, but I look at it from a different perspective. Olynyk may not have scored many points, but he didn’t need to, Jeff Green (24 points), Avery Bradley (17 points) and Jordan Crawford (15 points) all had big scoring nights. What Boston needed was rebounding and passing. Olynyk led his team in rebounding with 8 boards, and had a three way tie with Jordan Crawford and Phil Pressey with 4 assists to lead the team. Olynyk is not as effective as a defender as Faverani but he can still hold his own.
In my opinion, it is in the best interest of the Celtics to start Kelly Olynyk every game. Olynyk is a gifted scorer and has a solid jump shot. He also is a major piece for the future of the Celtics. Playing Olynyk more can elevate his game to another level. I am not saying that Faverani should sit on the Celtics' bench the whole game. Faverani should be the backup center and a defensive anchor off the bench. Olynyk is also a superior passer to Faverani and with Rajon Rondo, the best passer in the league, out, the Celtics need all the distributing they can get.
Much like the Denver Nuggets duo of J.J. Hickson and JaVale McGee, the Celtics could potentially have a better one if developed in the faces of Vitor Faverani and Kelly Olynyk. Both are big, bruising centers who clog up the paint and do work on both ends of the floor. The Celtics may have found two gems through this offseason and though they may not compete this season, the future looks bright with these two manning the front court rotation and playing alongside Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo.
Both Faverani and Olynyk make good cases to be the starting center, but the Celtics should choose the younger, more athletic, and gifted option of Kelly Olynyk.