Nov 12, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Austin Rivers (25) is defended by Los Angeles Lakers forward Ryan Kelly (4) and center Robert Sacre (50) at Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Pelicans 116-95. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Duke in the NBA: Ryan Kelly Thriving in D-League Stint


Ryan Kelly has done a lot of bouncing back and forth between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles D-Fenders so far this year.

With the Lakers, he has rarely seen the court, totaling just seven minutes through the team’s first nineteen games. This is precisely the reason for his frequent trips to the D-Fenders of the NBA Development League, where the Lakers hope to provide him with playing time and readiness, should injuries ever force him into their rotation.

So far, it certainly appears Kelly has managed to stay sharp.

In four games with the D-Fenders, Kelly has averaged 24.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks. The former Duke star has also shot 42.0% from the field and 89.5% from the free throw line.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear his success in the D-League will be translating into a more permanent stay with the Lakers anytime soon:

The Lakers want Kelly to get playing experience in the D-League.

There’s a good chance the Lakers will call Kelly back for home games on Sunday against Toronto and Tuesday against Phoenix, then send him back to the D-Fenders.

I don’t have a problem with this, as there really isn’t much of an opportunity for minutes right now. While Kelly would bring the type of big-body shooter that the Lakers don’t currently have, one that would fit in well with Mike D’Antoni’s offense, the Lakers’ current rotation is pretty set in stone, and they’re about to get big man Chris Kaman back.

For now, he might as well stay sharp.

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