With Bam Adebayo out for this game, the Heat had two options: start Kelly Olynyk, or start Meyers Leonard. There was also a bonus third option, which was to start Udonis Haslem, and also an extra-bonus fourth option, which was to forgo their right to replace Adebayo in the lineup and begin the game with only four players on the court. I don’t know if those last two were even considered, and it’s likely that the first wasn’t either, because Leonard has experience in the starting role and was the one who got the nod.
Either choice wasn’t going to change the outcome of the game; the Lakers are too good for that. Olynyk ended up with 24 off the bench, but did those points matter at all? No.
I have stated before that the difference between Olynyk and Leonard is negligible, but after further reflection I have realized that there are some differences when it comes to how they affect their team on the court. At least one. Maybe more. Basically, Leonard has a negative basketball-IQ. Olynyk isn’t anything amazing in that category, but he processes things significantly faster than Leonard, who should probably stop shotgunning beers and start watching more film (preferably on the YouTube channel of Mr. Down To Buck, but only after contributing a significant portion of his paycheck to Mr. Down To Buck’s Patreon).
They are both very, very soft. Just wanted to remind people.
Another difference is that Leonard is very timid when it comes to trying to score the ball. Olynyk, on the other hand, at some point (unsure when, exactly, but at some point during his tenure with the Heat) decided that he could be a guy who just shoots threes whenever he feels like it. He doesn’t even feel the need to get his feet set or his body exactly square. He just flings it up there. I’m guessing he got jealous of Duncan Robinson, but not jealous enough to emulate Robinson’s perfect shot preparation and beautiful form.
I’m just sitting here waiting for him to re-find the amazing post moves he had in college and in his first Summer League games. That was, like, one of his main calling cards as a prospect, and he doesn’t even try them anymore. He had a post-up against Rajon Rondo, and instead of taking his time and abusing him, he just rushed his way into some garbage running hook in the lane (remember, “running hook in the lane” is literally the worst shot you can possibly take) which bricked. The Olynyk of old would never have done such a thing.