The Denver Nuggets selected Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon with the 24th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft. After trading out of the 13th overall pick, Denver decided to pull the trigger on the sharpshooter who is regarded as one of the best pure shooters in the draft.
Capable of scoring from just about anywhere on the court, Lydon’s game will slide in nicely with the Nuggets’ offensive scheme. In addition, he is solid around the rim and is regarded as a capable rebounder, one area the Nuggets need help.
His game should translate nicely to the NBA due to his size and raw scoring ability; however, Denver desperately needs help on defense, and Lydon has a long way to go before he is ready to become an impact player in that aspect of the game.
The addition of Trey Lyles, whom the Nuggets acquired via trade with the Utah Jazz for the 13th pick, certainly helps bolster Denver’s defense right off the bat, but long term there are still come glaring holes.
The Nuggets went with offense in the Lydon pick. Regarded as a prototypical stretch four, Lydon will be able to impact the Nuggets due to his length and athleticism. But in order for him to take the next step in the NBA, he will need to put in a ton of work both in his game and his body.
Lydon had the highest body-fat percentage at the NBA combine, according to The Spun. This fits Lydon’s profile of being one of the biggest ‘project’ forwards in the 2017 class. If the Nuggets can find a way to tap into Lydon’s potential both on offense and defense, they may have a solid player on their hands.
Lydon was a safe pick for the Nuggets to make. He fits Denver’s current mold and has the potential to blossom into a solid role player for them down the line. He should fit in nicely alongside Nikola Jokic and will find scoring opportunities in the open court from the get-go.
The Nuggets failed to address their biggest need on defense, but selected an overall player in Lydon who could potentially develop into an adequate defender for Denver down the line.
The draft was not a big step forward or back for the Nuggets. That said, as Denver held mostly in place, the division rival Minnesota Timberwolves got substantially better by acquiring All-Star Jimmy Butler.
The Nuggets have a lot of work to do, and while their future still looks bright, the first round draft pick did not make them appreciably better in any aspect.
Lydon could be a solid player in a few years for the Nuggets, but for now, he will be a project.