Sports Out West

NBA draft 2013: Lakers’ Ryan Kelly fits Mike D’Antoni’s system

Photo Credit: SportsAngle.com

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni may have found the stretch four he covets in second round draft pick Ryan Kelly.  

At the Lakers’ team facility on Thursday night t in a phone interview, Sports Out West was among a group of media that spoke to the former Duke Blue Devil, who outlined his niche in the NBA and more specifically within the Lakers’ system: 

“I think my position as that stretch four there’s an opportunity there,” he said in the interview. “(I’m) a guy who can shoot the basketball with the size and length that I have. There’s a spot on a lot of rosters that need that and I certainly think that the Lakers are one of them, and I’m going to have to earn everything that I get. And I know that and I’m going to have to work hard. I think my ability to shoot the basketball and my ball-friendliness for a guy my size who can pass a little bit, dribble the ball a little bit, I think those are the things that will allow me to play on a team like the Lakers.”

D’Antoni’s best offenses has thrived when there’s been a player with length in the post who can provide scoring from the perimeter while stretching the defense. Kelly’s strengths lie in the fact that he’s versatile on both ends of the floor, and is an often underrated defender. 

In 2012-13, L.A. struggled to get stops. They ranked 22nd in the NBA in opponents points allowed (101.0) and 20th in defensive rating, or points per 100 possessions, with a mark of 106.6. General manager Mitch Kupchak indicated on Thursday that Chris Duhon and Devin Ebanks would not return, while the team gave a qualifying offer to Robert Sacre

Dwight Howard still has his decision to make, and that will have a lot to do with Kelly’s immediate role on the team. If Howard leaves, then Kelly could compete for the starting power forward position with Pau Gasol moving to his more natural position at center. If Howard does return, however, Kelly would look to immediately bolster the second unit. 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.