By all appearances, Duke's Ryan Kelly was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers to give head coach Mike D'Antoni the kind of stretch 4 his system needs.
Normally, a team selecting a player who fits the system of the current head coach is not particularly noteworthy, it is simply an organization drafting to its needs. However, in this case, it is most definitely worth noting.
ESPN's Chris Broussard helps explain why:
That tweet is in no way shocking. It was always clear that Howard's offensive game fit into D'Antoni's up-and-down style of perimeter play like a broad-shouldered peg into a petite hole.
Not only did that make it seem unlikely that Howard would want to return to the Lakers if D'Antoni was still at the helm, but it was fair to wonder why the Lakers would even want to pair the two together in the first place.
So, it has seemed like the future of the Lakers would involve either D'Antoni or Howard, but not both. The selection of Kelly points to D'Antoni staying.
At No. 48, Kelly was a solid value regardless of which team drafted him, but his style of play and strengths suit an offense that uses a stretch 4. D'Antoni has enjoyed his greatest success when he's had a power forward who can help with floor spacing and hit open looks.
Kelly is a very limited athlete. He is not the kind of player who will be a fantastic finisher or high-flying shot-blocker. After all, there is a reason he was available in the second round.
However, at 6'11", he has nice length, and he has a fabulous shooting touch to go with it. He is a quality spot-up shooter, effective on the pick-and-pop and also while facing up defenders on the elbow.
This is exactly the kind of presence D'Antoni needs with the Lakers. The added shooting and ability to create better floor spacing will play a vital role for the coach.
The bottom line is this: There is a reason the Lakers had Kelly targeted and pulled the trigger on him. It is because he is an excellent fit for the man they intend to keep in charge on the sidelines.
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