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Ryan Kelly Will Be Productive Complementary Player for LA Lakers

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 02:  Ryan Kelly #34 of the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 2, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 28, 2013

Ryan Kelly's versatility, basketball I.Q. and collegiate experience with a winning program will be a great fit for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Throughout Kelly's college career, he proved himself to be a good shot-blocker and solid low-post defender. As a senior, he blocked 1.6 shots per game. At 6'11.75" in shoes, per Draft Express, Kelly has the length to be a defensive presence in the paint.

He also knocked down 42 percent of his three-point attempts as a senior. The ability to hit the outside shot makes him an excellent stretch 4 prospect.

Spending five years playing for Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski has augmented what was already a good understanding of the game. Kelly isn't an elite athlete, so comprehending how to accentuate his strengths is the key to his success.

The Lakers' No. 1 objective this offseason is to convince Dwight Howard to re-sign with the team. One look at the team's Instagram account is evidence of that.

Even if the Lakers don't accomplish their goal, Kelly would still be an asset. With Howard in L.A., Kelly's ability and willingness to step outside is the perfect complement to Howard's inside game.

On defense, he can be the second long big man the Lakers need to be tough defensively in the paint. If Howard bolts, Kelly could still play the same role alongside Pau Gasol—assuming the Lakers don't trade the latter.

Being a pick-and-pop option with Steve Nash and/or Kobe Bryant upon his return from injury is also a realistic possibility for Kelly.

Because he was a five-year senior and member of Duke's winning tradition, he is mature enough to understand and accept this important—but secondary—role for a potential winner. 

Drafting Kelly was a smart move that doesn't clash with any of the Lakers' long-term primary goals.


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