There are currently 16 players on the Lakers roster, and the Lakers have until October 28th, 5 p.m. EST, to trim their roster down to a maximum of 15 players. Ryan Kelly, the Lakers second-round (and only) draft pick this year is one of the Lakers non-guaranteed players who’s looking to solidify a spot. Unfortunately for Kelly, he’s been a few steps behind while recovering from his foot surgery.
Kelly was cleared by athletic trainer Gary Vitti while in China and made his first preseason game debut against the Golden State Warriors, knocking down two three-pointers, one of which was his first shot attempt. In his second game, Kelly knocked down two field goals but missed all three attempts from behind the arc. Does he think it was enough to show the Lakers that he deserves a spot on this roster?
“I believe I’ve shown myself enough and I will continue to show that I’ve earned a spot on this team,” Kelly told reporters at the Lakers practice facility on Monday. “But, to be honest with you, I can’t worry about it at this point. I’m in a situation where I was a little bit behind but that doesn’t matter. I have to prove what I can do, everyday.”
So what are the odds that Kelly will make the team? Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni says that at this point he really does not know. He’s also uncertain how many players will be on the final Lakers roster. Yesterday, though, D’Antoni did not seem too impressed with the rookie’s performance in China.
“I don’t think he played really well in China,” D’Antoni said on Lakers.com. “He had a great couple of practices. He hasn’t played in six to eight months. I thought he was all over the place. But that’s normal. He’ll keep working at it. He’s good. It looks like he knows how to play.”
Kelly said on Wednesday that he feels D’Antoni’s system is perfect for his style of play, but he also understands that he has to prove himself each day, even if he were to make the team. Kelly definitely perked Kobe Bryant’s eyes in China last Tuesday when his first shot attempt was a perfect three-pointer. Kelly said Bryant joked with him after the play.
“Kobe said to me, ‘Wow you just fired up a three on your first shot huh? I think I would of tried to take it to the basket.’ I said, ‘Hey, that’s what they brought me here to do!”
Kelly is known for his three-point shooting and it’s refreshing to see a rookie with so much confidence, but even if Kelly does make the squad, it’s likely he’ll have an extremely limited role off the bench.
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