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.