Ryan Kelly’s Hidden Value Something Los Angeles Lakers Desperately Need

Ryan Kelly’s statistical record has been slight so far this season, but he’s still a valuable piece of the rebuilding puzzle for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The second-year forward was recently reintroduced into the lineup after sitting out six weeks with hamstring injuries. At 6’11” with a willowy frame, Kelly fits a particular niche in a league that has become increasingly transfixed by spacing and outside shooting.

In other words, the NCAA champion can stretch the floor.

In 10 appearances this season, Kelly’s numbers appear unimpressive—4.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 16 minutes per game. But he’s knocking down 46 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, and although the roster is crowded with frontcourt bodies, Lakers coach Byron Scott seems determined to carve out some court time for the former Duke standout.

“I know I can find minutes for Ryan because I like the way Ryan plays,” said Scott, per Joey Ramirez for Lakers.com. “He gives us something that we don’t have. He’s a stretch-four, very intelligent basketball player. So I know I'll find minutes for him."

Kelly had to deal with multiple surgeries on his right foot during his time in college. But even though he was recuperating from one of those operations at the time of the 2013 NBA Draft, the Lakers selected him as their No. 48 pick.

As a rookie, Kelly mostly watched from the sidelines for the first two months. But Mike D’Antoni began inserting him into the lineup during the last few games in December, and from there, things began to change.

Kelly played double-digit minutes in every game in January. He started 25 of 59 games for the season and had some big nights, including 20 points in a win against the Boston Celtics, and 26 points while beating the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The appeal was obvious for a coach known for spre...

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