I’d say the Lakers made a pretty good choice when they decided to draft Ryan Kelly out of Duke with the 48th overall pick last June.
Kelly, who will turn 23 in April, has been one of few bright spots during this dark season, and he’s beginning to pan out quite nicely as an NBA player.
At the time of writing this post, Kelly ranks third among rookies in three-point accuracy at 37.5 percent. This part of his game isn’t that much of a surprise, though, seeing as Kelly was known as a shooter during his days at Duke.
However, the more surprising aspect of Kelly’s game has been his overall ability to contribute in almost every area while he’s on the floor.
Among rookies, Kelly is sixth in points per game (7.5), 11th in rebounds (3.3), 13th in assists (1.3) and third in blocks (0.7).
Now, some of these numbers can be attributed to this draft class simply not being all that great, though it’s still pretty impressive than Kelly is hanging around with names such as Ben McLemore, Trey Burke and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
By comparison, McLemore, who was taken with the seventh overall pick by the Sacramento Kings, is averaging 7.8 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Kelly also ranks high among rookies when it comes to John Hollinger’s “PER” statistic. Kelly is sixth in the league with a PER of 13.23. The only rookies above him are Kelly Olynyk, Victor Oladipo, Michael Carter-Williams, Miroslav Radujica and Kelly’s former Duke teammate, Mason Plumlee.
Kelly is currently having his best month as a pro.
In the seven games he’s played so far in March, the 6’11” forward is averaging 10.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 steals per contest while shooting 52 percent from three-point range.
Also, impressively, the rookie has dished out 17 assists against just two turnovers so far this month.
All in all, Kelly has proven to be a great team player during his first five months in the league.
The Lakers can retain Kelly’s services this summer thanks to his $1 million qualifying offer, a move that appears to be likely due to his encouraging development this season.