The Los Angeles Lakers signed forward Ryan Kelly, the team announced on Friday.
Kelly, a four-year player at Duke was the No. 48 overall selection in the 2013 draft, the Lakers’ lone pick. After an offseason marred by a foot injury, both the Lakers and Kelly hope he can become a stretch big man to complement head coach Mike D’Antoni’s system.
In four seasons with the Blue Devils under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Kelly averaged 7.5 points and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 46 percent from the field. He has good range and shot a career 38 percent from beyond the 3-point line. On draft day, he spoke with Sports Out West and other media via conference call about his optimism that he could come in and play right away:
“I think my position as that stretch four there’s an opportunity there,” he said in the conference call. “(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.”
The ability to pass will be key with the new-look Lakers, and Kelly’s diverse skill set includes the ability to find open shooters on the perimeter or even step out on his own and take open looks. He is a smart player who should be able to contribute immediately, if he can stay healthy.
He’ll have plenty of competition at the forward position. Elias Harris, Marcus Landry and Wesley Johnson are each vying for a spot in the rotation as the Lakers transition into forming a roster that better fits D’Anotni’s system.
Photo Credit: SportsAngle.com
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