Lakers’ Ryan Kelly finding his way at small forward

first_imgThat sharply contrasts how Scott handled decreased playing time to Jeremy Lin and Nick Young, both of whom sought out Scott.“I respect him a lot as a basketball player and a person because of the way he comes to work every single day,” Scott said of Price. “I thought I owed him that.” Price has averaged only 5.2 points and 3.7 assists, but Scott often lauds his defensive toughness. “I’m always thankful to be able to play,” said Price, whose absence against Orlando marked the fifth consecutive game he missed because of a coach’s decision. “The times I got a chance to get on the floor, every chance I get, I try to enjoy it. We never know how many more basketball games any of us have.”Price, a nine-year veteran, signed with the Lakers last summer to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal worth $1.3 million. Price said he “absolutely” would love to stay with the Lakers, though they will prioritize pursuing marquee free agents. “It’s great when you have guys like a Ronnie Price,” said Scott. “He’s going to be good no matter if he’s playing or not. You know he’s going to work his butt off in practice. He’s going to be a mentor to the younger guys. He’s going to be great on the bench and great in the locker room.” ORLANDO, FLA. — It turns out that Ryan Kelly’s frustrations did not end once he fully healed his hamstrings.The Lakers’ 6-foot-11 forward soon encountered a different form of adversity, playing at the small forward position after previously thriving at power forward. But Kelly may have turned a corner, scoring a season-high 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting in the Lakers’ 103-97 overtime loss on Friday to the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. “I was a little more active and teammates saw my opportunities,” Kelly said. “I tend to try make the right play. But sometimes the play is to be aggressive and shoot the ball.”After missing 32 of the Lakers’ first 35 games because of injuries to his left and right hamstrings, Kelly has averaged only 3.6 points on 31.8 percent shooting. That marks a far cry from last season, when he averaged eight points on a 42.3 percent clip during his rookie year under former coach Mike D’Antoni as a stretch forward. “I know he’s a natural (power forward),” Scott said. “But anytime you can have versatility, it makes you more valuable. I want to still experiment with it.”So why did the formula work against Orlando?“He made shots. He got himself open and he was much more active offensively,” Scott said. “That’s the Ryan Kelly we were waiting for.”Meeting of the mindsScott recently told veteran guard Ronnie Price he likely will not play until after the NBA All-Star game on Feb. 13 for two reasons: So rookie Jordan Clarkson can develop as the starting point guard and so Price can fully heal from a sore right elbow.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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