Los Angeles Lakers: What To Make Of New Draft Pick Ryan Kelly

By Eric N. Ellington
Brian Spurlock – USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Kelly, from Duke University, was selected in the second round — no. 48 — of the 2013 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Seems like a Mike D’Antoni pick, to me.

The 6-foot-11 forward has decent ball-handling skills, is capable of shooting three-pointers, and will probably be inserted at the stretch-four position in D’Antoni’s shoot-in-seven-seconds-or-less offense. I particularly didn’t care for this pick because he is extremely unathletic and has subpar rebounding skills — both attributes this old Lakers team desperately needs.

I was hoping the Lakers would draft a athletic, tougher type of player. Kelly, like most Duke players, is very soft and reminds me of a diminished version of Pau Gasol.

The Lakers didn’t have much room for error in this draft, since they traded most of their draft picks when they acquired Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns last summer. Players usually selected late in the second round have trouble making their prospective rosters. I don’t believe this would be the case for Kelly — as unathletic as he is, the Lakers will need him to provide a spark off the bench. The Lakers won’t have Dwight Howard next year — probably — so he can fill his roster spot if needed.

Kelly isn’t projected to be a major NBA contributor, and I was somewhat surprised he was even drafted. I understand how he fits in well as a stretch forward, but I don’t really care because I’m not a fan of D’Antoni’s gimmick offense. Many think Kelly could potentially be the next Ryan Anderson, but we’ll see. If any player was going to be selected from Duke this year, it should have been Seth Curry. Big bro, Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, gave him some much needed encouragement on Twitter:

Lakers Draft Report Card: C –

Eric N. Ellington covers the Los Angeles Lakers for Rant Sports. Follow him at @EricNEllington

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