Men's Basketball

Tyler Lydon selected by Utah Jazz with the No. 24 pick in NBA Draft

Liam Sheehan | Staff Photographer

Lydon's 6-foot-9 frame and sweet stroke from 3 will likely slot him as stretch four in the NBA.

The Utah Jazz selected Tyler Lydon with the No. 24 pick on Thursday night at the 2017 NBA Draft. His rights have been reportedly traded to the Denver Nuggets.

The former Syracuse standout averaged 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game this season before declaring for the NBA Draft with two years of eligibility remaining. Lydon garnered attention from scouts during his freshman season after three straight double-digit scoring performances at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. There, Syracuse upset then-No. 18 Connecticut and then-No. 25 Texas A&M.

After that, Lydon wriggled regularly into SU head coach Jim Boeheim’s starting rotation. He scored 14 points and snared seven rebounds in back-to-back NCAA Tournament wins in 2016, though he struggled in the team’s Final Four loss to North Carolina with just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting.

After Syracuse graduated Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney, and Malachi Richardson entered the NBA Draft after his freshman season, the sophomore Lydon was expected to breakout as the team’s leader. The offense was set to run through the 6-foot-9 forward. And while he improved his scoring to 13.2 points per game, a three-point jump from the season before, Lydon struggled with consistency. Syracuse then missed the NCAA Tournament with a mostly AWOL Lydon, who did only grabbed double-digit rebounds twice in Syracuse’s last 20 games, or made more than four baskets from the floor in two of SU’s last seven.

But Lydon showed signs of NBA talent throughout his sophomore campaign. Lydon shot 39.5 percent from 3, a sweet stroke that allowed SU to space the floor, which is a big plus in the NBA as teams ever-increasingly rely on 3s. Yet he was the fourth stretch four selected in the first round, after the Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers passed on Lydon, taking Lauri Markkanen (No. 7), D.J. Wilson (No. 17) and TJ Leaf (No. 18), respectively.

Lydon played three different positions at Syracuse but will likely be used as a stretch four in the NBA. But by moving down to play center or on the wing as a three helped Lydon develop a solid defensive game. He was one of five players in the Atlantic Coast Conference to average both a block and a steal per game in 2017.

Lydon’s selection marks the sixth straight year a Syracuse player has been selected and nine out of the last 10 years in which SU has produced a first-round pick. The last time Boeheim didn’t send a player to the NBA was 2011.

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