One of the few bright spots of this trying season was the emergence of rookie Ryan Kelly. A second-round pick of the Lakers, Kelly showed that he has a skillset that can work in the NBA, and earned the trust of his teammates throughout the season.
As a prototypical stretch-4, Kelly was a perfect fit for Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system that valued shooting and floor-spacing. But with D’Antoni gone, some players may not fit with the Lakers the way they did last season.
Ryan Kelly does not believe that he is one of those players, and according to LA Daily News’ Mark Medina, he believes he can thrive for the Lakers regardless of the system:
I think I can play in multiple styles of offenses. Obviously Coach D’Antoni’s is more spread out and that’s what I’m going to be, more of a stretch four. But I showed the ability to handle the ball and put the ball on the floor. Teams will always need somebody who can shoot. For guys my size, I can fit into any system.
Kelly really developed as the season went on. He obviously isn’t the traditional power forward who can bang in the post night in and night out, but there is no question he could fit on the Lakers.
Shooting is always at a premium in the NBA, but he also showed he can be a solid rebounder and his high basketball IQ really helped him on defense as he understood positioning and consistently drew charges because of it.
Being a skilled, shooting big man who can be retained relatively cheaply, Kelly is likely to return to the team next season. If he continues to develop at the rate he did last season, he can be a contributor as well.
Lakers Exit Interviews 2014: Ryan Kelly Believes Lakers Want Him Back