Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk has a growing reputation around the league for being a dirty player. The conversation really began when his pull of Kevin Love’s arm resulted in the Cavs big man dislocating his shoulder in the 2015 playoffs and has continued due to other incidents over the past two years, reaching another boiling point in Game 3 of Celtics-Wizards.
Kelly Oubre took exception to a hard screen from Olynyk and ran over and shoved him to the ground afterwards, earning an ejection and a one game suspension. That incident reignited the discussion of whether Olynyk is a dirty player or just a hard-nosed, physical player that toes the line and occasionally crosses it. His history has led many to point to the former as the answer, and you can count Warriors all-star big man, Defensive Player of the Year candidate, and habitual line-stepper Draymond Green among those that aren’t down with Olynyk’s shenanigans.
Green called out Olynyk as a “dirty player” on his podcast for Uninterrupted, and said he has no respect for Olynyk and others that do those kinds of things. He also explained why he felt Oubre shouldn’t have been suspended for an additional game after the ejection.
“That was crazy. Kelly Oubre got suspended for Kelly Olynyk flopping. That man took a charge on a push. Like, come on bro. Kelly Oubre hit Monty McCutcheon harder than he hit Olynyk! … And Kelly Olynyk is a dirty player man. You do little stuff dirty and then you want to take a charge. Oubre ain’t hit him that hard and he shouldn’t have been suspended. You already kicked him out the game, so essentially he’s getting game and a half suspension for that?…
“[Oubre came at him] rightfully so, though. Olynyk caught him in the face or neck with a couple of elbows. And that’s what I don’t understand. You let people get away with stuff and then finally when somebody react you penalize that guy. But you’re not going to penalize him for continuing to elbow this guy in the face? I don’t get that. He’s dirty. Dirty player. I don’t respect guys like that. I know he’s not like the greatest basketball player of all time so maybe he feel like he’s gotta like do that. Just dirty. I don’t respect that, man. He’s dirty.”
Now, plenty of people will (rightfully) point out that Draymond has his own history of altercations with players and could be considered dirty for his propensity for kicking people with flailing limbs on multiple occasions. Green did not speak to that, but he did offer an explanation of the difference between being dirty and knowing veteran tricks.
“There’s a difference between dirty and knowing all the tricks, cause knowing all the tricks ain’t trying to hurt people,” Green said.
Olynyk pled his case as not being a dirty player after Game 3, but around the league people aren’t buying what he’s selling.