Atlanta Hawks Release Ex-Lakers Forward Ryan Kelly
Los Angeles Lakers 2015-16 Nba Season Grades: Front Court Players
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t all that long ago that Ryan Kelly was considered to be something of a find by the Los Angeles Lakers, who snagged him with the 48th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. At 6’11” and possessing a solid outside shooting touch, the hope was that Kelly would fit in perfectly with then-coach Mike D’Antoni‘s offense, which thrives on floor spacing and encourages three-point shooting.

As a rookie, Kelly posted solid averages of eight points and 3.7 rebounds per game while shooting 34 percent from three, which earned him a new, two-year deal with the club. However, that summer D’Antoni and the Lakers parted ways, and new head coach Byron Scott didn’t subscribe to his predecessor’s philosophies. From there Kelly’s production plummeted as Scott initially tried converting him into a small forward out of necessity but ultimately sent Kelly to the bench.

When his contract expired this summer, Kelly signed a deal with the Atlanta Hawks, but apparently, that won’t last. According to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Hawks have decided to release Kelly from his deal:

Kelly played for the Hawks on Tuesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, scoring two points and grabbing two rebounds in six minutes of playing time, but he was released after the game.

At this point, it isn’t clear what Kelly’s next move will be. He could head to the D-League, or potentially find a spot overseas. Kelly, who played his college basketball at Duke, has the talent to continue his professional career somewhere, even if it isn’t in the NBA. His slide after the departure of D’Antoni demonstrates why it is so important for players to find the right fit and system to play in, and we wish him well wherever his career takes him.

With NBA rosters needing to be cut down to 15 players by opening night, the Lakers will need to make some tough decisions of their own, with Yi Jianlian, Thomas Robinson, and Metta World Peace all battling for the last spot on the team.

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