Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  June 28, 2013

Last night’s 2013 NBA draft went from a changing of eras as David Stern passed on his 30-year baton, to a sharp turn down a rabbit hole. Writer/personality Bill Simmons became increasingly agitated over the course of the evening by news of Paul Pierce & Kevin Garnett being moved from Boston to Brooklyn. Matters were compounded by the Doc Rivers trade to the Clippers which had been eating away at the Sports Guy for days. It’s one thing to be a fan of particular regional franchises, it’s another to let your fandom hijack the proceedings. That’s exactly what happened when Simmons opined that Rivers had quit on his team this past season. Moments later, the quote was eagerly relayed to Rivers by reporter Shelley Smith. The rejoinder was that Doc would “call him an idiot but I’m too classy for that.” The jump-cut back to the ESPN panel was more than a little awkward.

Similar to news item number one, the beating to death of Dwight Howard’s supposed intentions took up a good part of the evening. For anyone living under a rock, this mainly stemmed from a breathless Chris Broussard report which per usual, was attributed to sources close to the situation. I’m not adding quotation marks given that Broussard didn’t bother with them either. No need for a hyperlink here – it was provided yesterday

Threading its way through all of this was an actual draft, although it became increasingly byzantine as picks were traded like penny stocks. Be that as it may, the night went on and at some point toward the end of the festive proceedings came the hotly anticipated #48 pick by the Los Angeles Lakers. It was somewhat anti-climatic in the sense that the pick actually makes sense.

Nicknamed the ‘White Raven’ after his high school team, Ryan Kelly was a four-year man and co-captain at Duke. He’s had a history of right foot problems, causing him to miss the 2012 NCAA tournament. This past season he hurt the foot again and missed 13 games. Asked about reintegrating Kelly into the lineup this spring, Coach Krzyzewski praised the senior’s adaptability and intelligence. The stretch forward returned to drop 36 points against the Miami Hurricanes but ultimately re-injured the foot He made it through the Elite Eight where Duke eventually lost to Louisville. At season’s end he had surgery with a 12-week recovery timetable which brought him right up to draft night. Assuming his foot issues are behind him, it’s reasonable to expect he could be of some use in a role player position. Those who chronicled the Blue Devils likened Kelly to a possible Matt Bonner or Steve Novak-type.

Next season’s Lakers’ roster is far from set. While there isn’t any real cap flexibility, players will have to be signed. The latest news has the team declining to renew contracts on Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock. This comes on the heels of yesterday’s news that Devin Ebanks and Chris Duhon will also be moving on to other pastures. And then there’s the Dwight situation which will be bled dry for discussion until it finally resolves itself (my guess is later rather than sooner). If rookie Ryan Kelly can give us 36 points each and every night next season, we should be just fine. Have a good weekend, y’all.

Dave Murphy