Two years ago, the thought of Ryan Kelly being drafted by an NBA team seemed utterly ridiculous.
Today, that notion is still ridiculous, but to a lesser extent. After Kelly finally broke out in his junior year at Duke, some Blue Devils fans are beginning to wonder if he’ll actually get drafted this summer.
If he does, it’s likely to be at the tail end of the NBA draft. Even if Kelly repeats his solid junior season (11.8 PPG and 40 percent three-point shooting), he’s going to have to scratch and claw his way to get drafted.
Obviously, Kelly’s biggest strength comes from his ability to shoot from the outside. His height (6’11”) and stroke have turned him into a poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki—minus Dirk’s patented kick on his shot, of course.
Another strength in Kelly’s game is his ability to work in the high post. He can face up defenders and occasionally blow by them on the way to the basket.
And when he’s not facing up opponents in the high post, Kelly can use his shooting to effectively “pick and pop” at the next level. Obviously, the biggest weakness that could prevent Kelly from potentially being drafted in the spring is his lack of overall athleticism.
Kelly is seen often clumsily trundling up and down the court during Duke games. That trait certainly isn’t what NBA scouts are looking for.
Also, Kelly will need to improve his rebounding if he wants to hear his name called on draft night. He’s never averaged more than 5.4 RPG in a season at Duke.
If Kelly can continue his solid shooting and improve his rebounding numbers the remainder of his senior season, he may have a puncher’s chance of being a late second-round selection.