Batten down the hatches, folks -- it's Trey Lyles time. Seth correctly pointed out Sunday morning that the Knicks are being linked to everyone who has ever picked up a basketball; still, Chris Herring did confirm that they are indeed big fans of what Lyles can do on the court:
Even if they don't draft him -- and I sincerely doubt that they do -- he can provide an insight into what exactly the Phil Jackson regime is looking for in players. With that in mind, let us ask a few questions about this big man from Kentucky by way of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
1. Does he play the one position the Knicks absolutely should not draft for?
More or less. While he did play small forward on a Kentucky team blessed with two supremely athletic 7-footers, the 6'10" Lyles profiles as an NBA 4. That means he plays the position Carmelo Anthony should play, which is no bueno.
2. Is he a good defender?
Perhaps the Knicks could get by with Melo at the 3, provided they paired him with an excellent defensive frontcourt. Sadly, defense seems to be Lyles' biggest concern moving forward. He struggles defending on the perimeter, doesn't block shots and gets overwhelmed by powerful post players.
3. Can he space the floor with his shooting?
Nope. Lyles might develop a long-range jumper at some point, but he shot only 14% from three during his time at Kentucky. He has a pretty good handle for his size and can take his man off the dribble, but smarter NBA defenses will probably just sag way the hell of him until he proves he can hit that perimeter J.
4. Is he a fit for the Triangle?
Hellllll yea. Dude is so triangular, his nickname should be Pythagoras.
Triangle bigs need great footwork and top-notch passing ability, which Lyles possesses in spades. You can see why the Zen Master would be enamored with him. Lyles' DraftExpress summary makes him sound like the perfect Phil Jackson Knick, for better or (mostly) worse:
Power forwards who aren't great perimeter shooters, athletes or shot-blockers are not the most en vogue players in today's NBA, so he'll have to be drafted into the right situation with the understanding of what his strengths and weaknesses are to reach his full potential.
Clearly, Trey Lyles is a bit of a project. He could make a great deal of sense for a team that...
- Has a lower first round pick.
- Can surround him with good defenders.
- Has multiple picks over the next few years in case he takes time to develop.
- Doesn't have Carmelo Anthony.
The Knicks fit precisely zero of those categories. Call me crazy, but I'd prefer the team focus their energies on acquiring players who fit the roster, rather than potential fit the offensive system.