The Los Angeles Lakers really needed to maximize their value of their lone pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the 48th overall pick. Though it’s a mid-second-round pick, the Lakers still had some solid options left on the board to address some of their needs. They opted to select Duke power forward Ryan Kelly.
Kelly is an interesting player because he’s definitely an offensive threat. At 6-foot-10 without shoes, Kelly is a dual-threat scorer that can somewhat effectively bang in the post, but can also step out and knock down long-range jumpers. The power forward averaged 12.9 points per game last season when he wasn’t injured and shot 42.2 percent from beyond-the-arc.
A somewhat underrated thing about Kelly is his ability to defend. He’s a strong guy that plays with a high basketball IQ on the defensive end. The Lakers definitely needed a little bit of depth at the power forward position, but that doesn’t make this pick any less puzzling.
For starters, Kelly doesn’t have a great deal of upside. He’s one of those players that can play an effective role in the NBA potentially, but he kind of is who he’s always going to be. The Lakers probably looked to draft someone with a higher ceiling and probably should have looked to address backcourt needs.
With Steve Nash set to play fewer minutes next season and Kobe Bryant likely missing a large chunk of the season with his Achilles injury, the Lakers should have looked to draft a guard. Considering that Lorenzo Brown and Myck Kabongo, two high-upside and talented point guards, were still left on the board, it’s kind of surprising that Los Angeles didn’t lean that way with their pick.
Kelly may come in and provide the Lakers with solid bench minutes next season, but that doesn’t change the fact that he probably wasn’t their best option with the 48th pick. As they did in free agency last off-season and in their coaching search last season, the Lakers seem to have missed the mark once again.