Rookie forward Ryan Kelly is starting to turn a lot of heads after starting the last two games for the Los Angeles Lakers. One player that has taken notice of Kelly's improved play with more time on the floor has been veteran forward Pau Gasol who said the following about the rookie according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters via Twitter on Jan. 19:
Pau Gasol on Ryan Kelly: "His basketball IQ is really showing. He's been a great addition to our team"
In Kelly's debut as a starter against the Boston Celtics on Friday, Kelly scored a career-high 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor. The Lakers went on to beat the rival Celtics in Boston with Kelly's performance being one that stood out to head coach Mike D'Antoni.
The Lakers coach was so impressed by Kelly's performance that he made him the starter against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. Fortunately for D'Antoni, who has had to deal with an injury-ravaged roster, starting Kelly for a second straight game paid off.
Kelly followed up a career night against Boston with another solid showing in Toronto. The Duke product scored 17 points against the Raptors on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor while also ripping down five rebounds and grabbing a couple of steals.
Gasol was impressed by the rookie's performance in Toronto and seems to favor playing with a true stretch four which gives the veteran center more space to work with in the paint.
It'll be interesting to see if Kelly can continue to play well while in the starting lineup. D'Antoni intends to continue starting Kelly while having Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill come off the bench.
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