Late 2nd round picks usually don’t work out. They are left for players that need a few years of grooming, great athletes, or heavily underrated players that have gone under the radar. Isaiah Thomas is a great example of a player who has gone under the radar because of his size. Robert Sacre contributes very well for a back up center.
Ryan Kelly fits the description perfectly.
Ryan Kelly is the new prototype power forward. Before, power forwards were the secondary centers; they had a post game, rebounding ability, and often played in the paint. Now, with modern NBA rules and offensive styles, creating space in the paint is of utmost importance. This is done by having legitimate 3-point range, drawing defenders away from the paint.
Ryan shoots 33.8% behind the arc. It’s not stellar or amazing, but he has a reputation as a shooter.
What people didn’t expect was has solid he was as a ball-handler, his athletic ability, and ability to finish in the paint.
As the season progressed, Ryan Kelly’s playing time went up. Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill fought off injuries, but Kelly didn’t sulk under the pressure of early playing time. Instead, he played with veteran poise; staying within the context of his talent and playing positive, impactful minutes on the floor.
One indicator of his offensive IQ is his assist-to-turnover ratio. Most front court players with average IQ are 1:1. Anything above that is a huge bonus. It’s a reflection of their skill level, but also their court awareness and unselfishness. Ryan Kelly’s is 2:1.
His best game was when the Laker team was under the most duress. The Laker game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 5th was one of the most memorable of the season. Not only did they dress eight players, but injuries and fouls caused Robert Sacre to foul out as the last remaining starter. From there on out, every foul he would commit would be a technical. Late in the game, Kyrie Irving didn’t even come back in. The Cavaliers were mounting a comeback after an early 1st half blowout by the Lakers.
Ryan Kelly finished with 26 points with his basic triple threat skill level.
Ryan Kelly has had one of the most successful seasons of the Laker roster. Not only did he have a great rookie campaign against low expectations, but showed the Laker franchise what he’s capable of. With the right team around him, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him start for the Laker team. He adds a dimension at the power forward slot, essentially adding guard skills to a traditional power position.
The future is bright for the former Duke player.
Cheers to a tremendous rookie campaign. We look forward to more, in a Laker uniform.