It’s only been 10 games, but Kelly Olynyk has proven himself to be a strong signing for the Detroit Pistons. Troy Weaver’s biggest offseason addition has served an anchor off of the bench as a scorer and playmaker.
He’s given Dwane Casey a little bit of everything, despite a cold shooting start.
And... now he’ll miss at least the next six weeks:
Detroit Pistons say forward/center Kelly Olynyk will be sidelined for at least six weeks due to a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 12, 2021
A Grade 2 sprain is essentially a slight tear. According to Keith Langlois, he’ll be re-evaluated in six weeks. The worst part about this is that the injury occurred on an Olynyk foul after he was hit at the knees by a flailing opponent — for the second time this season! — and called for an illegal screen.
Here’s the play:
A reminder that kelly - who is not setting a screen and is merely present here in an established position - is called for a foul on this play that hurt him. Because someone else ran into him. pic.twitter.com/pg1VRtrklJ— Halbridious (@Halbridious) November 11, 2021
This means a lot of things for Detroit.
Cade Cunningham is going to have to grow up even faster as the Pistons will need to lean on him and Jerami Grant even more. Isaiah Stewart, who’s gotten off to a great start defensively, is going to have to get right offensively.
It’d be nice to see him utilized in more pick-n-pop situations. He’s capable of hitting jumpers out to 3-point range and that spacing is going to be needed. Stewart needs to cut down on his fouling, too.
Really, though, this is a big opportunity for Trey Lyles to revive his career and/or a legitimate chance for Luka Garza to show us he’s an NBA player.
Quietly, Lyles is playing some of the best basketball of his career this season. His shooting has dipped lately, but he’s shown flashes of what made him a lottery pick in 2015 with a crafty off the dribble game. I’d bet he occupies much of that Olynyk role.
As for Garza... I’d advise you keep your expectations low. The defensive struggles are going to continue — especially against starting-caliber opponents. Unless he can show legitimate, high level shooting from downtown, I don’t see how he makes a difference. That jumper has to fall for him to succeed.
Either way, the Pistons’ struggling offense is going to be worse because of this. Hopefully, Olynyk can get back by the new year. It’s early, but this might just mean the #WallowForPaolo is officially on.
Let us know in the comments how you see Dwane Casey adjusting without Olynyk.