The Denver Nuggets have selected Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Having drafted a guard in the first round of each of the previous three drafts, including Gary Harris, Emmanuel Mudiay and Jamal Murray, the Nuggets opted to trade out of the lottery this time in exchange for Trey Lyles and this pick. With all those guards in tow, having a burgeoning star center in Nikola Jokic and Danilo Gallinari hitting the open market, Denver has acquired a forward to fill its biggest need.
Lydon spent two seasons with the Orange, where he hit nearly 40 percent of his 3-point tries and averaged 13.2 points during the 2016-17 campaign. While Lydon’s shooting is a plus, especially for someone at his 6-foot-9 height, his lack of physicality is seen as a concern. Fortunately for he and the Nuggets, he has reportedly put on 15 pounds of muscle this offseason and is now being listed by ESPN at 223 pounds. In today’s NBA where positions are less strictly defined, Lydon is still seen as a potential tweener who may not be quick enough to guard traditional 3s while also not being strong enough to guard bigger 4s.
Given his height and ability to get shots off in a variety of ways, there will likely be many more question marks regarding his defense than his scoring. Lydon could pair well with a speedy guard like Mudiay, especially in potential pick-and-pop scenarios. Last season, Lydon also showcased a strong free-throw shooting stroke, converting 83.6 of his 116 attempts.
While he’s not regarded as an athletic player, his length and instincts should provide some decent rim protection, an area of need for the Nuggets. For all of Jokic’s many gifts, shot blocking is not one of them. Lydon, on the other hand, rejected 1.6 shots per game over his collegiate career.
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