As one of only four players with a guaranteed contract with the Los Angeles Lakers for next season, Ryan Kelly’s future is secure after an otherwise disappointing sophomore year.
During Kelly’s exit interview on Thursday at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo, the second-year forward said the following about what his intends to focus on during the off-season, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters
Ryan Kelly says he'll be ready to play wherever a team needs him but "I’m going to train to be a stretch 4."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) April 16, 2015
Kelly came into this season after a signing a two-year deal with the team following a decent rookie year. Kelly’s performance in his rookie season gave the team hope he’d be apart of the long-term plans, but persistent hamstring injuries got his second season off to a rough start.
Once finally able to get healthy, head coach Byron Scott played Kelly out of position at small forward. Kelly struggled to play well at the three spot, but was moved back to power forward and has gotten back on track with improved numbers across the board.
Before the season-finale against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, Kelly had played 51 games averaging 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. The Duke product saw a serious drop in his field-goal percentage going from 42.3 percent in his rookie to 33.7 during the 2014-15 NBA season. Kelly’s percentage from beyond arc basically stayed the same going from 33.8 to 33.6.
Unless Kelly can turn things around next season, the 24-year-old might only have one more year in Los Angeles. Kelly will almost certainly have a decreased role next season with Julius Randle returning and the team potentially acquiring another frontcourt player in free agency or in the NBA draft, but he may prove valuable if able to be a force from three-point range.
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