Ryan Kelly has re-signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, who got it from Kelly himself.
Ryan Kelly on his new deal: “I am very happy and blessed to have reached an agreement with the Lakers”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 19, 2014
The deal came to fruition late Friday night. It is apparently a two-year deal with no options, according to Mark Medina of Los Angeles Daily News. There is no word on how much the contract is worth or if it’s a fully guaranteed deal.
Kelly was the 48th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft after a solid career at Duke that showed his potential as a stretch-four in the modern, shooting-and-spacing-conscious NBA. He shuttled back and forth between the D-Fenders and Lakers throughout November and early December, but was with the team for good as of December 8th.
While appearing in 59 games for the Lakers, Kelly averaged 22 minutes per contest with solid per-36 numbers of 13 points, six rebounds, and nearly three assists. There was a bit of an adjustment period in moving back to the NBA three point line for Kelly as he shot 29% from three in the first three months of his season, but then shot 44% in February and March before an extended slump in April pushed his overall season average down to 34%.
Where Kelly fits on this current Lakers’ roster though is precarious. The Lakers just claimed Carlos Boozer off of amnesty waivers and drafted Julius Randle. Then, they re-signed Jordan Hill and brought in Ed Davis, both of whom are more undersized center than power forward. Plus, they re-signed Wesley Johnson, who in my opinion played his best minutes as a 4 last year.
Luckily, Kelly brings an entirely different skill set than any of these other players in the Lakers’ front court, and that could mean that he gets minutes over a potentially better player because of it. However, that’s still a rather large log jam. Considering the Lakers don’t yet have a coach, it’s almost impossible to guess whether or not Kelly plays a good amount of minutes on the Lakers or ends up in the D-League for extended stretches of the season.
It’s also worth mentioning that he showed solid ancillary skills beyond his shooting, including quick ball movement, good vision, good movement on the perimeter defensively, and even some decent weak side help rim defense for a stretch-four with nearly a block per game. But ultimately, whether or not Kelly sticks in the NBA long-term will come down to whether or not he can get his three-point shot to fall on a consistent basis. If he can get that three-point percentage up to around 38-40% — which is entirely possible given his skill — he’ll have a long and productive NBA career.