Ryan Kelly to play Friday night, on assignment with D-Fenders

Ryan Kelly to play Friday night, on assignment with D-Fenders
Lakers forward Ryan Kelly commits a foul as he tries to block a shot by Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard during a Jan. 5 game in Portland. (Don Ryan / Associated Press)

Before the Lakers head out on a four-game trip, starting in New York on Sunday, second-year forward Ryan Kelly will play a game in El Segundo on assignment in the NBA Development League.

The Lakers sent Kelly to the D-Fenders, who play host to the Bakersfield Jam on Friday, but are expected to recall the 23-year-old Duke product in time to fly to New York on Saturday.

Kelly struggled to stay healthy for most of the first half of the season, fighting through multiple hamstring issues.

Through 17 games, Kelly is averaging 7.8 points and 6.1 rebounds and shooting just 32.2% from the field.

Coach Byron Scott recently moved Kelly into the starting lineup, out of position at small forward.

"Right now, he's trying to find his way at that position," said Scott. "I'm just trying to see if he can play that position as well."

The transition hasn't been seamless. Kelly is shooting just 23.1% through the four starts.

"It's not easy. It's a different spot on the floor, but I'm learning," said the 6-foot-11 Kelly. "I just have to find different ways to use my size to my advantage."

"The more positions you can play, the more value you have," he continued.

The D-Fenders (8-19) are in fourth place in the West Division, 11 games behind the Jam (19-8).

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.