We may actually get to see Ryan Kelly play basketball pretty soon.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Kelly is aiming to return to practice by the end of the week and has already been playing one-on-one with the Lakers’ player development coach, Mark Madsen:
[pullquote]Kelly hopes to fully participate in practice by the end of the week and then earn a roster spot by playing in at least a few preseason games. The second-round draft pick has progressed to one-on-one battles with player development coach Mark Madsen in recent days.
“He got me today a little bit,” Kelly said before the Lakers’ 104-95 exhibition victory over the Golden State Warriors at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. “In the post, he’s tough to deal with.”
The Lakers had hoped the 6-foot-11 Kelly would be a force both inside and on the perimeter, where he is expected to stretch defenses with his three-point shooting. He hasn’t been able to showcase any of his skills since the Lakers drafted him, but Ryan shot down the notion that he has suffered any sort of setback in his recovery.
“I’ve noticed that people are saying I’m not 100% because I’m not playing,” Kelly said. “My foot’s 100%, it’s just that I haven’t played basketball in a long time, so I’ve got to play basketball.”[/pullquote]
The Lakers took a chance on Kelly in the second round of this year’s draft. While the 22-year-old has had foot problems during his short career, he showed flashes of his potential during his time at Duke. For example, in a game against the Miami Hurricanes earlier this year, Kelly exploded for 36 points on 7-for-9 shooting from three.
As the L.A. Times article notes, Kelly may find it harder to land a spot on the roster now that Xavier Henry has emerged as a potential rotation player. The Lakers currently have 19 players on their roster and must trim that number to 15 by opening night.