Apr 11, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Ryan Kelly (4) goes up against the defense of Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Kelly Needs to Stay a Laker

The 2nd round draft pick had a great year considering his draft position.  The power forward is known for his perimeter touch and ability to put the ball on the floor, but most don’t realize he’s 6’10″ with a near 7′ wingspan at a center’s standing reach of 9’2″.

If the Lakers choose to keep him as a restricted free agent, they have the option to match a contract made by any other team in order to retain him.

 

Apr 16, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Ryan Kelly (4) shoots the ball during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Kelly had a solid rookie year.  He was put into situations where his position on the team was unpredictable. The injuries that amounted over the year allowed him to get considerable playing time.  With that playing time, he matured, and got comfortable on the NBA floor.  He shot 42.3% from the field, but more importantly, showed the ease at shooting from 3-point range, while being a good ball-handler with a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

With triple threat skills and elite height by position at the NBA level, there’s a possibility for him to become a starter down the road.  While he shot 33.8% behind the arc last season for the Lakers, there’s every reason for his percentages from the field to increase.  He has the height, length, and textbook shooting form to raise those percentages tremendously.  Free throw percentages are usually a great indicator projecting perimeter range.  He’s comfortably at a guard-like 81.5% from the stripe.

Hopefully, with a healthy Laker team, his percentages will continue to rise with better looks at the basket.  Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are the playmakers of the team, and give the role players great perimeter looks.  Ryan Kelly would be a great beneficiary of that. Ryan Kelly is an underrated player in NBA circles.  While his game doesn’t scream of tremendous upside, it does show that simple playmaking, basketball IQ, and the ability to shoot, go a long with at the NBA level. Hopefully he can use his size better defensively.  If that’s the case, the Lakers have a bona fide steal.

He’s worth keeping.

Tags: Free Agency Lakers Ryan Kelly

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