Men's Basketball

NBA Draft: The case against picking Tyler Lydon

Jessica Sheldon | Staff Photographer

In a loss at Pittsburgh in February, Lydon didn't even score in the first half and finished with only eight points. Such games are cause for concern for his NBA longevity.

UPDATED: August 8, 2017 at 4:38 p.m.

Tyler Lydon is headed to the NBA after two seasons at Syracuse, and he’s a near certainty to have his name called at some point in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-9 forward finished his collegiate career with per-game averages of 11.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He also shot 40-percent from deep while drilling 93 3-pointers.

Currently, several mock drafts have him projected to go near the end of the first round, down from the mid-first round he had been projected in the early and middle portions of his sophomore season. After presenting the argument to take Lydon on Saturday, here are three reasons why teams should consider passing on Lydon.

Not big enough

At 6-foot-9, Lydon’s height fits perfectly at power forward. But what’s lacking is the weight. Players become bigger and stronger in the NBA, and Lydon might not be physically ready to compete.

Lydon gained 13 pounds between his freshman and sophomore season at SU, from 210 to 223, but there’s still more to go. In the case for picking Lydon, he was compared to current Milwaukee Bucks forward Mirza Teletovic, who also stands at 6-foot-9 and is a 3-point specialist. The one difference is that Teletovic is 245 pounds.

In an interview with DraftExpress, Lydon said that he’s working on adding muscle. He’ll have to succeed if he wants to physically compete with stronger forwards.

Pigeonholed

One of Lydon’s main traits at SU was his positional versatility, with Jim Boeheim playing him at three different positions — both forwards and at center — during his two years.

Lydon’s skillset really only lends itself to playing as a stretch four at the NBA level. He’s already lacking some strength to play against stronger forwards, which means he’d face an even bigger mismatch against opposing centers.

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Liam Sheehan | Staff Photographer

Lydon did flash the ability to get to the rim from the high and low posts, using a jab and quick spin to create space. Against faster and stronger defenders, that option won’t be there.

Lydon also lacks the dribbling ability and quick first step to create offense for himself from the wing. He wasn’t consistent off the dribble, making it unclear whether he’ll create any offense for himself. His current skill set really limits with whom he can match up.

Missed opportunity

Lydon came into the season on the All-Atlantic Coast Conference second team. After the departure of Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson, it was expected that he would see a large increase in his scoring load.

But by the end of the season, Lydon averaged 2.8 more points per game than he did the previous year (13.2 in his sophomore year, 10.4 his freshman year).

Lydon struggled with consistency throughout the season. He had a six game stretch —between the second Boston College game and the game against North Carolina State — in which he averaged 18.3 points per game. Over the next six games — including games against Pittsburgh and Louisville in which Tyus Battle was dealing with an illness and playing limited minutes — Lydon average just 10.5. There were times when he’d aggressively attack the basket. Other times, he’d pass up a few too many open looks from deep.

Most mock drafts indicate that Lydon’s stock has dropped since before the season. Teams might have seen his inability to seize control of an offense he seemed poised to take as a serious flaw.

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