Mannix’s analysis: Lyles was a tough player to project. His numbers weren’t great, but he was playing behind great players and playing out of position. As a power forward, Lyles has solid potential. He is a poor man’s Karl-Anthony Towns; Lyles has a nice low post skill set and showed flashes of a burgeoning mid-range game. Defensively, he’s not a shot blocker but if he can be a consistent rebounder at the NBA level, he can find a home in the Utah rotation, which has a need for a backup power forward.
Strengths: Lyles is able to do a little bit of everything and is comfortable attacking off the dribble and finishing at the basket. He has the makings of a solid post game. He’s a good passer and face-up player with a decent mid-range game, and the development of his three-point shot will be key to his value. While the prospect of Lyles as a stretch-four is enticing, he has enough talent and versatility to become a very solid offensive cog, though he may never be a true star. He’s just 19 and has plenty of time to polish his game, and there’s plenty for teams to work with.
Weaknesses: The main strike against Lyles is that he lacks top-level leaping and quickness. His offensive skills, especially with added shooting range could certainly make up for that. Though he wasn’t that productive statistically, you have to remember how things work at Kentucky. Plus, his per-minute stats are more forgiving. It’s Lyles’s defense that begs the most questions—he won’t be able to guard small forwards like he did at Kentucky. While Lyles can match most four-men from a physical standpoint, he’s not a shot-blocker. If he doesn’t improve the jumper or prove to be passable defensively, his prospects are far less exciting.
Acquisitions: Trey Lyles at No. 12, Olivier Hanlan at No. 42
The Jazz are already set in the frontcourt, but that didn’t stop them from taking a tweener forward in Lyles, fresh out of Kentucky.
It shouldn’t have stopped them either, as Lyles’ array of skills and length seem better suited for the NBA than the NCAA game, and though his minutes will be limited initially his jack of all trades game should eventually win out. He had to play small forward while at Kentucky, but for him to fully adapt to the position in the pros his shooting will have to improve.
Following Trey Burke’s disappointing sophomore season, the Jazz selected hybrid Boston College guard Hanlan in the hopes that he’ll push or even replace Burke, should the Jazz decide that it is Dante Exum’s time to run things.
Round 1: Trey Lyles (12)
Round 2: Olivier Hanlan (42), Daniel Diez (54)
General manager Dennis Lindsey said Lyles had “Jazz DNA” in him. I couldn’t agree more. There’s very little that’s sexy about Lyles’ game. But he’s got good size, has a very high basketball IQ, is skilled in the post and has an emerging perimeter game. If he can take his shooting out to the NBA 3-point line (and right now that’s a big if), he’ll be a very good complement to Derrick Favors andRudy Gobert. I also really liked Hanlan. He has good size for a point guard, is a solid shooter and can score in a variety of ways. He should be an excellent backup for Exum and Alec Burks.
From Real GM
– Trey Lyles
Lyles may not got the chance to put a ton of stats at Utah but he fits the super-sized prototype they have been drafting towards for years. Dante Exum (6’6). Alec Burks (6’6). Gordon Hayward (6’8). Derrick Favors (6’10). Rudy Gobert (His arms make him feel like he’s 7’5). Every one of those guys has plus size, length and athleticism for their position. Lyles is 6’10 240 with a 7’2 wingspan and he spent his freshman season playing as a SF. That was one of the most remarkable parts about him — he’s 6’10 and he’s running with guys like Kelly Oubre on the perimeter. Oubre is exceptionally fast even for an NBA first-round pick. He really erased Rashard Vaughn in the 2nd half of the Kansas win over UNLV. And Lyles was able to keep up with him.
Now you put him to his more natural PF position in the NBA, where he still has a good amount of size and length. I think what people will be most impressed with Lyles is the feel with which he plays. He knows how to cut, he knows how to play off the ball and he can make plays in tight spaces. He’s 6’10 and he’s extremely smooth with the ball in his hands. This is a guy who could throw a lot of oops to Rudy Gobert. He doesn’t shoot 3’s but he’s got decent enough touch in the mid-range and he’s a good enough free-throw shooter to think he can provide a functional amount of space next to Gobert or Favors. What will help is the amount of 3-point shooting they can get from Hayward, Burks, Exum and Trey Burke. All the pieces fit real well together in Utah.
The Jazz aren’t just randomly grabbing guys. They are out here like Joseph Stalin doing Five Year Plans. They have been drafting these guys since 2010 and they have never really rushed the process and brought in a bunch of veterans. They are being patient with all of them because they are fitting them into roles over a multi-year period that allows each of those guys to play off the other. There’s still room for flexibility – Kanter out, Gobert in – but there’s always a bigger plan in place. That’s how you have to do it in a small-market. Compare it to MJ’s One Year Plans in Charlotte. If there’s one takeaway from this draft, it’s that I’m looking at the Jazz and the Wolves as two future powers out West.