After Kelly Olynyk helped the Boston Celtics to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance last season, it was clear that he had absolutely no idea who he’d be playing for in 2017-2018.
"Just control what you can control," Olynyk told reporters at the time. "Whatever happens, happens. However the cookie crumbles, it does. But you just control what you can control. You can't worry about things that aren't in your control. … “Just getting better. Getting better as a player every single day, physically, mentally, studying the game, whatever it is. But just trying to get better every single day.”
Although he was a restricted free agent, the Celtics ended up rescinding his rights in order to free up cap room necessary to sign Gordon Hayward to a maximum deal. As a result, he became a coveted frontcourt option on the free agent market, able to sign with any team.
When Olynyk, who averaged 9.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game in Boston last season, signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the Miami Heat, it was generally greeted with some skepticism. After all, the Heat signed reserve guard Tyler Johnson to the same exact lucrative deal the summer before.
But, especially in the second half of the year, Olynyk has emerged into one of Miami’s most important players. Taking on a massive role in Erik Spoeltra’s second unit, the 26-year-old’s ability to shoot from the perimeter, rebound and also find teammates with his surprisingly-elite vision has benefitted the club immensely. Overall, he’s averaging 11.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 23.6 minutes per contest this season, all of which are career-highs.
However, in the month of March, he took his game to the next level, averaging 13.5 points, 6.3 boards and 4.3 assists over 24.3 minutes in a high-usage role. Injuries to Hassan Whiteside and Bam Adebayo led to him gaining a few more minutes, but now, Olynyk is closing games out in the fourth quarter, alongside Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson and James Johnson (on most nights).
On Wednesday, Olynyk continued his hot streak against the Atlanta Hawks when he put up 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists in just 23 minutes. But, just two minutes into the game, he accomplished his most impressive feat of the contest.
In the process, he showed everyone how amazing some of the details in his contract are.
Two minutes in, he passed 1,700 minutes on the season. Per the details in his contract, he earned a $1 million bonus for doing so, per ESPN. In addition, he had previously received a $400,000 bonus because Miami made the playoffs. That's not too shabby.
After the game, Spoelstra joked that Olynyk might have to pick up a few tabs in the future.
"Dinner, drinks, beers, all that is on him," Spoelstra joked. "I'm going to see if I can get tickets to a play. All that is on him. I'm going to bill his account for everything."
Since the Eastern Conference is pretty much wide open, the Heat will have the chance to shock the world in the playoffs. If they do, Olynyk will most likely have something to do with it.
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