The 2017 NBA Draft is fast approaching and the Portland Trail Blazers possess three first round picks (15, 20, 26), as you know if you’ve been following our draft profiles. Today we take a look at another prospect and how he could benefit the Blazers, continuing the series by analyzing Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon.
- Height: 6’10”
- Weight: 225
- Wingspan: 7’0”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: SF/PF
- College: Syracuse
- Age: 21
- Projected draft range: 18-26
- PPG: 13.2 | Per 40: 14.6
- RPG: 8.6 | Per 40: 9.6
- APG: 2.1 | Per 40: 2.3
- BLK: 1.4 | Per 40: 1.6
- STL: 1.0 | Per 40: 1.1
Lydon’s size and shooting ability are a perfect fit for the NBA’s new wave of floor-spacing big men. The New York native has a high release, making him a tough cover on the perimeter when guarded by smaller defenders. He shot close to 40 percent from beyond the arc in both of his seasons at Syracuse, and he is comfortable shooting from NBA-range. Along with his pure shooting ability, the 21-year-old big man is a competent passer for a post player. Lydon does a solid job of finding open teammates when he is moving downhill towards the basket, which is a skill Draymond Green has mastered while operating inside of Golden State’s offense.
Even in an era that rewards position-less basketball, Lydon could be in trouble at the next level. He consistently struggled to cover players on the perimeter, and often couldn’t deal with physical forwards in the post. It is tough to judge his defensive potential after he was hidden inside Syracuse’s zone defense for two seasons, but getting in proper position on defensive rebounds is a clear spot where he must improve before getting major minutes in the NBA. While Lydon will likely be drafted on his shooting talent, his inability to connect on shots after he is forced to put the ball on the floor is a serious red flag. Outside of fundamentals, he will also have to work on getting in better shape, as he posted the highest body fat percentage at the combine last month.
Lydon was unable to lead the Orangemen to a consecutive Final Four appearance in his sophomore campaign, but he still managed to put together some solid performances over the course of the 2016-17 season. He had a stellar outing against an unranked Georgetown squad in mid-December, missing only one of his 13 attempts from the field. Lydon’s season eventually ended in the NIT, however, opening up skepticism regarding his choice to return to Syracuse for a second season.
While he may never be an above average starter in the NBA, Lydon’s size and shooting ability should help him carve out a spot as reliable supporting player. Most of today’s offenses rely on space, and Lydon’s outside shot is something that sets him apart from most of the big men that will be drafted around him. If he can adapt to life outside of a zone defense and learn how to get in better position for rebounds, he has a chance to blossom into a solid role player at the next level.
Judging by the comments made by Portland’s President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey in his exit interview, Meyers Leonard’s time as a member of the Blazers could be coming to a close. Lydon has the tools to fill the role that Portland groomed Leonard for, making the former Syracuse standout an interesting pick at the tail-end of the first round. The Blazers need reliable outside shooters (that aren’t named Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum) at a low cost, making Lydon a potentially appealing option for Olshey.
Do you want Lydon in a Trail Blazers jersey next season? Which player would you like us to analyze next? Tell us in the comments below.