With the 48th pick in this year’s NBA Draft, the Lakers drafted Ryan Kelly out of Duke University. Kelly, a sharp shooting forward, was the Lakers only draft pick this season, and was drafted following an operation to repair an injured foot.
Kelly’s operation sidelined him for the Lakers Summer League, where the team was able to get good looks at guys like Elias Harris and Marcus Landry — both of whom were invited to training camp this year (Harris on a guaranteed deal). Without being able to play in Summer League, Kelly is entering camp a bit behind other invites, and was expected to take another step back by not being fully healthy by the start of camp. However, according to The Herald Sun’s Steve Weisman, Kelly will be ready to go when the Lakers open camp on September 29.
“I am ready to go,” Kelly said.
Even though he said he hasn’t had any problems with pain or swelling in the right foot [sic] two months, Kelly said the Lakers medical team took a cautious approach before clearing him. He was fine with that.
“With pro sports, your body is truly your career,” Kelly said. “I was told by many a person that has played to make sure you are 100 percent healthy and don’t try to come back. Just take care of your body first. You have to be physically sound at that level.”
Kelly is going to have to have a great training camp to make this year’s Opening Night roster. He’s behind the curve on the defensive end and lacks the athleticism that will bode well in head coach Mike D’Antoni’s fast paced offensive system. Kelly is going to have to shoot his way onto the Lakers roster, because that’s really the only skill set that can set him apart from other invites.
Regardless of whether or not Kelly makes the team, it’s good to see that he’s fully healthy and ready to go.
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