Lakers take Duke F Ryan Kelly with 48th pick
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP)
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said he wasn't concerned in the least about Duke forward Ryan Kelly's history of foot injuries when he selected him with the 48th pick in the NBA draft Thursday.
Kupchak, a North Carolina alum, joked that he was a little edgy about picking a player from the Tar Heels' hated rivals, the Blue Devils, however.
''It's unusual to get a guy his size with the skill he has, so it's a unique opportunity to get a player with an NBA frame that can shoot not only from mid-range but I think he can become a consistent 3-pointer shooter in the NBA as well,'' Kupchak said.
Kelly, 6-foot-11 and 230 pounds, averaged 12.9 points on 45 percent shooting plus 5.3 rebounds as a senior in 2012-13. He could give the Lakers a much-needed dimension as a perimeter shooter with the size to stretch defenses.
However, Kelly was limited to only 23 games last season after undergoing surgery to mend a broken right foot at the end of the 2011-12 season. He had a second surgery in April to replace a screw in the fifth metatarsal and was expected to be sidelined for up to 12 weeks.
''We've done some research and we're very familiar with the injury,'' Kupchak said. ''In fact, he's been cleared to play last week. But I don't think he's going to play for another week or two. I don't think he'll participate in summer league. I don't think there's any need to rush him.''
The Lakers haven't had a first-round pick since 2009, when they selected guard Toney Douglas from Florida State with the 29th selection and promptly traded his rights to the New York Knicks for a second-round pick in 2011 plus cash.
They sent this year's first-round pick (No. 19) to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the trade that brought them point guard Ramon Sessions late in 2011-12. Sessions opted to sign as a free agent with the Charlotte Bobcats after playing only 23 games for the Lakers.
Kelly said he looked forward to joining the Lakers.
''It's a great opportunity,'' he said. ''I'm looking forward to taking advantage of it.''