Kelly Olynyk on playing in Mexico, his subpar Spanish and playing with Whiteside
Kelly Olynyk tried to have a garage sale at his Boston townhouse last weekend and mother nature didn’t cooperate.
It poured, he said. So he didn’t sell a thing.
“I had some stuff to sell,” the Heat’s new 7-footer said Wednesday as he signed autographs and posed for photos with the kids who participated in the Heat’s summer camp at Miami-Dade College in Kendall.
“[Celtics] jerseys, shorts, clothes, everything. I haven’t decided yet if [the California king mattress will be sold too]. If I get a place here and if it’s furnished, then like I said, everything can go.”
Olynyk, who signed a four-year, incentive-based $50 million deal with the Heat this summer to provide depth in the frontcourt and help spread the floor with his three-point shooting touch, isn’t your typical, young multimillionaire.
He has an accounting degree and is two semesters shy of his MBA. He’s also frugal with his money.
He prefers nice sushi dinners over parties at nightclubs and prefers to wear plain white t-shirts and baseball caps instead of designer clothes. As the Toronto Star reported last month, Olynyk still drives a leased Toyota Tundra pickup and uses an iPhone5 whenever he’s back home in Canada.
As far as his new, much warmer home?
“I've been here two days and I already love it,” said Olynyk, who will wear No. 9 with the Heat. “[The warm weather] warms the joints. You’re always warm, always ready to go.”
And Olynyk is ready to finally get going down here. This week, he began working out with his new Heat teammates and had dinner at Hassan Whiteside’s house on Monday night.
Although he said he still has to move some of his things down from Boston and is still planning to spend some time training with the Canadian national team, Olynyk said his plan is to spend the bulk of his time training here in Miami before Heat training camp begins in late September.
“It’s fun just to get familiarized with everybody and the way they do things so it’s not overload when training camp season comes,” Olynyk said. “Hassan is a great guy, a great character. He’s a super nice guy. But he’s a beast. I’m really excited to play with him and to be able to play with a guy his size and with his abilities on the floor defensively and offensively, on the glass. I’ve heard nothing but good things about him. Meeting him and getting to know him, he’s awesome to be around. I’m really looking forward to playing with him.”
Heat president Pat Riley said last month coach Erik Spoelstra sent Olynyk (7-0, 238) a workout regiment for the off-season. Olynyk said it’s not that different from what he’s done in the past.
When asked if he thinks he will be in the kind of “world-class shape” the Heat want him to be in for the start of camp Olynyk replied: “I think when the time comes you’re going to be in good enough shape. Obviously it’s the summer, not everybody is going five, six hours a day every day. You need to give your body and mind rest – especially since [the Celtics] went pretty far in the playoffs obviously. But just getting back into it, I don't think I’m in bad shape. I definitely can keep improving.”
Olynyk shot a career-high 51.2 percent from the field last season and made 35.4 percent of his threes last season, which ranked eighth among 16 centers who attempted at least 50 shots from beyond the arc. But his three-point shooting was much better at home (41.1) than on the road (29.5).
The Heat could potentially start Olynyk at power forward like it did with Luke Babbitt the majority of last season to help spread the floor. Or, Spoelstra could opt to use Olynyk off the bench as a scorer. Whatever role he ends up in, Olynyk knows its going to be important to continue to expand his game and help spread the floor for his teammates.
Being an aggressive shooter, like Spoelstra asks all of his shooters to be, Olynyk said, will be a bit of an adjustment to his mindset. So, too, will having the freedom to dribble and attack.
“Everything just opens up when you can shoot the ball, especially as a team,” he said. “If you have five people out there who can shoot the ball, it’s really, really tough to guard... I’m obviously an unselfish player, so it’s different for me growing up and being a point guard and trying to get the ball moving and get people in good positions to make plays. But it’s definitely something that you got to do – be a threat every time you touch the ball.”
▪ The NBA will unveil its full regular season schedule early next week, but on Wednesday the league announced the Heat will be playing its first international regular season game in franchise history on Dec. 9 in Mexico City against the Brooklyn Nets. The game counts as a home game for Brooklyn.
Olynyk played a regular season game in Mexico with the Celtics two years ago.
“It’s awesome, man,” Olynyk said. “I’ve been to Mexico City a lot. I went to the Olympic qualifiers with Canada and spent almost a month there. Mexico City is a great place to be. The fans were great there, especially when we went with Boston. And even when I was there before, they love basketball.”
Olynyk said his Spanish is “subpar at best.”
It’s something he says he’ll try and improve now that he’s going to play in Miami.