Why the Houston Rockets should keep Kelly Olynyk past this season

Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets traded away Victor Oladipo at the NBA trade deadline buzzer and brought in a pair of quality veterans, Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley. However, the early trade rumors had the Rockets pursuing packages centered around young talent and draft picks as compensation.

As trade deadline day unfolded, the Rockets were in heavy negotiations trying to move Oladipo before the deadline passed. As the 2 pm ct trade deadline passed, it seemed as if Oladipo was going to stick around for the rest of the year, and then it was announced that the Rockets had traded Oladipo to the Miami Heat right before the deadline passed.

Sources: Houston traded Victor Oladipo to Miami for Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a draft swap.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 25, 2021

Kelly Olynyk is the versatile big man the Houston Rockets need

Once the trade went through, most fans and media members thought the Rockets didn’t get back nearly enough for Oladipo. The responses range from the Rockets should have done better in the trade to the Rockets are an embarrassment.

It may change as the season continues, but Kelly Olynyk has been a revelation for the Rockets so far. It’s been just two games, but Olynyk is averaging 20.5 points 6.5 rebounds per game on 60-percent shooting.

It’s not just his shooting that has stood out, his playmaking and ability to score around the basket have offered the Rockets something new from their frontcourt. NBA vets like Olynyk make the game so much easier for everyone on the court.

Olynyk came to play in his home debut!

? 25pts pic.twitter.com/jpzmPliCYj

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 30, 2021

Olynyk is a versatile big who can stretch the floor when on the court with Christian Wood or can score inside as he did last night when he’s the only big out there. Wood is expected to be back soon, and it will be interesting to see if Wood and Olynyk will start the next game together in the frontcourt and how they play together.

This leads us to one of the greatest reasons to keep Olynyk past this year, to help aid in Wood’s development. He could teach him how to use different angles to score inside as he does right here.

Olynyk now with 22pts ? pic.twitter.com/dXMQrnywC2

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 30, 2021

Wood has been excellent as a shooter and roll man but his playmaking is still raw. Olynyk is an excellent passer from the high post and having him around will help Wood expand his offensive game, not to mention, it will lead to more easy buckets for everyone.

You love to see it pic.twitter.com/FbtA5gR0Fa

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 28, 2021

Keep in mind this is the first game for Augustin and Olynyk together in a Rockets uniform. The two execute a perfect give and go as if they had been teammates for years, but when you are a smart veteran like Olynyk you can fit in with any team and any system.

Olynyk may not be the most athletic player on the court, but he is a savvy veteran who knows how to score around the basket. This type of knowledge would be invaluable to Wood in the future. Also, Olynyk still has a few years left of either being a good backup or starting center next to Wood.

Having him in the fold would also allow the Rockets to try Wood at power forward, which could end up being his best position. If Wood doesn’t have to bang with centers as often, who have more size than he does, it will only help him in the long run.

The Rockets have gone through a tremendous amount of change in the past year. Starting with the trades of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the team has jettisoned its two best players to start a rebuild and has only continued to cast off veterans for future assets.

Even on a rebuilding team, you need veteran players like Olynyk who can show the young players the proper way to succeed in the NBA. Players like  Olynyk have seen just about every type of offensive and defensive scheme there is. With a player-friendly contract and the need for size on the team, the Rockets would be smart to keep Olynyk around even beyond this year.

Next. How D.J. Augustin will help the Houston Rockets this year and next