- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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SALEM, N.H. -- Only about 50 days had passed since Kelly Olynyk was last in Boston, but, boy, had expectations grown.
Kelly Olynyk had a breakout performance at the Orlando Summer League in July.Dubbed a complementary role player by Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge on draft night, all it took was a stellar five-game performance at his pro debut at the Orlando Pro Summer League for some Boston fans to ready Olynyk for the Hall of Fame.
On a pristine late-August morning, the 22-year-old Olynyk stood in the lot of a New Hampshire Park and Ride off Interstate 93 as a police escort assembled to deliver him -- and 30 children from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children -- to a nearby amusement park for a Shamrock Foundation event. Just days after league MVP LeBron James received an unauthorized police escort to a Justin Timberlake and Jay Z concert in Miami, there were wisecracks about all this attention going to the rookie's head.
Olynyk just smiled when asked about the escort. Truth be told, it wasn't even the first one of his basketball career. An officer noted that traffic on I-93 would soon be back to the New Hampshire border; the escort was the only way this crew was getting to the park anytime soon.
The 7-foot Olynyk, with his long hair and a green Celtics shirt, towered over the motorcycles around him and could be seen by cars crawling to the park's access road. Alas, the line of traffic was there for the roller coasters, log flumes and end-of-summer fun, not for Boston's top draft pick.
Asked about the wide-ranging spectrum of expectations -- from Ainge seemingly underselling Olynyk despite moving up three spots to snag him at No. 13 in June's draft, to those who want him in the starting lineup on opening night -- Olynyk smiled again and shook his head.
"I just want to help the team any way I can," he said. "Whether it's as an asset on offense or defense, whatever I can do. Just try to bring energy and excitement, and a work ethic every day to help this team get better. That's all you really can do. The pieces will fall where they will, but if you bring the attitude and effort, then good things will happen."
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