Kobe Bryant is recovering from an Achilles tear. Dwight Howard appears unsettled...again. Chris Broussard reported in ESPN The Magazine that D12 is unlikely to re-sign with the Lake Show. That currently leaves Bryant, who will be 35 years old at the start of next season, with a decaying Pau Gasol and achy 39-year-old Steve Nash to rely on.
With the Black Mamba signed up for $30.5 million next season and Metta World Peace unlikely to take his early-termination option on $7.7 million, the Lakers have little room to maneuver.
They should ensure they retain free agent Earl Clark, especially considering the talent pool is such a crapshoot at No. 48.
Name: Ryan Kelly, F, Duke
Pick: No. 48 overall, second round
Analysis: The Lakers add a 6'11" player who can knock down an outside jumper when left open.
As Bill Simmons boldly proclaimed on ESPN's telecast of the draft, Kelly is now the Lakers' "third-best player."
Kelly averaged 12.9 points and 5.3 boards per game last season for Duke. He also knocked down 42 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc after hitting 41 percent the season before. And the Blue Devil sank better than 80 percent of his foul shots over his past three seasons.
Kelly slid in the draft because he appeared in just 23 games last season. For the second consecutive year, Kelly was limited by a foot injury that also held him out of pre-draft workouts.
Due to the injury concerns, the Lakers may very well have landed a player who can make an immediate impact, even with their low draft pick. Kelly spent four years at Duke, so the Lakers know they're getting a high-IQ player who can bolster them up front and also stretch defenses.
Getting To Know Ryan Kelly