Has TL gotten a raw deal?
Tyler Lydon came to the Denver Nuggets in 2017 as the 20th pick in that year’s draft. He spent virtually all of the ’17-18 season in street clothes on the Nuggets bench.
It’s not uncommon for picks outside the top-10 to be players in-development and Lydon showed a nice shooting touch in Summer League play. He stands at 6’10” and weighs in at 225. Part of Lydon’s narrative is that he’s too slight to be a banger at 4 and the jury is out whether he shoots well enough to garner minutes at 3.
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Tyler declared for the NBA draft after a solid sophomore season at Syracuse. He shot well, slashing 47/40/84 in that season for the Orangemen. In his time last year at Rio Grande Valley, those numbers were still respectable at 53/38/79. Hovering around 40% from three in a power forward is why the Lydon project was worth the 20th pick, particularly on such a deep Nuggets squad.
Unfortunately, the project has not produced for the Denver Nuggets and it’s not completely clear why. Denver declined the third-year option on Lydon’s contract and he will become an unrestricted free agent on June 30th. Lydon should draw some interest, he’s skilled enough to play in the league. He needs to put on some weight but beyond that there are not glaring deficiencies that we can see to his game. He has been solid when he has been given opportunities to play.
With such turmoil at both forward spots it’s unfortunate that Michael Malone couldn’t find a way to pencil in the smooth-shooting kid from New York. It likely has more to do with the arrival of Jarred Vanderbilt and Thomas Welsh than any grand issue with Lydon’s game. Maybe the conservative country kid doesn’t quite fit in the Nuggets family.
Whatever the behind-the-scenes reasoning, we’ve likely seen the last of Lydon in a Nuggets uniform and that’s hard. We’re starting to see the effects of how well Tim Connelly has built this roster when talented players like Lydon can’t even sniff the court.
We’ll remember Tyler fondly and wish him well in his next adventure.