Ryan Kelly came to the Los Angeles Lakers as a second-round draft pick with little chance of making the team. He was hurt most of training camp, but secured a roster spot partly because he represented the stretch four that Mike D’Antoni loves to have on the roster. While Kelly struggled early in the season, he improved every week and presents an intriguing option for next season. The Lakers should bring back Kelly next year because he is a young, cheap prospect with potential.
Kelly was thrown into action early in the season due to all the injuries the team sustained. He struggled with his shooting and was outmatched on every defensive possession. His confidence was lacking, and it did not seem as if he belonged on the court.
Yet he kept improving as D’Antoni continued to play him, and slowly became a more consistent shooter. He demonstrated good passing skills, a solid shot fake, and a knack for creating turnovers on defense. He became more aggressive on both sides of the ball, and showed signs of a promising role-player in the future.
Kelly can be signed to a relatively cheap contract, something the Lakers will look for as they try to fill out their roster. They want to remain as flexible as possible, and signing promising players such as Kelly for a fair price allows them to spend more on impact players.
Kelly might not be ready to play as many minutes as he did this season on a contending team, but he understands his role. He doesn’t need the ball to be successful, and can help out in a variety of ways. He can space the floor but is also adept at moving off of the ball. With his inexpensive price and potential, the Lakers would be smart to bring him back for another year.