Duke In the NBA: Catching Up With the Rookies
Ryan Kelly – Los Angeles Lakers – PF – 2nd Round, 48th Overall
The Lakers aren’t known for valuing draft picks very highly, so we knew immediately Kelly was going to have to fight for one of the final roster spots. Even with the Lakers’ current shortage of talent and depth, there was never a guarantee that he would make the squad.
A foot injury held Kelly out of the Lakers’ first four preseason games, but he made his debut Tuesday night, playing 12 minutes and tallying six points and three rebounds against the Golden State Warriors.
Kelly’s versatility as a forward makes him very appealing to a Lakers team in serious need of bench talent, and if he can put together a strong performance in the final three preseason games, he’ll have a very serious shot at making the final roster. As it currently stands, the Lakers must cut at least two more players, and Kelly is still very much considered a possible victim; he is currently on a non-guaranteed contract.
Still, Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni and Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski are great friends, and considering Kelly is a good fit for D’Antoni’s system, he may have a small leg up on the competition if he can build on Tuesday’s performance.