– 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.