Draft Profile: Tyler Lydon May Be A Stretch-4 Option For Hawks

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As the Hawks contemplate their options at number 19, one potential stretch four who could still be on the board is Syracuse big man Tyler Lydon.  Lydon has the characteristics Atlanta has always liked: length, size and shooting.  To learn more about him, we spoke with John Cassillo (@JohnCassillo), the Managing Editor for Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician (@NunesMagician), an SB Nation blog covering the Orange.

What are Tyler’s strengths?

Tyler has the length and leaping ability to make an impact on the boards, and that also helps him create some space as a shooter. He possesses a quality jump shot and can put a nice arc on the ball to further exacerbate a height advantage on smaller perimeter defenders. His athleticism makes him a mismatch on bigger players, who may not be able to move as quickly to the rim. Lydon’s also a great free throw shooter, hitting nearly 84 percent from the stripe last season.

How does his game translate to the NBA?

He’s definitely a tweener between the 3 and 4 -- with potential be a stretch 4 in the pros. He mostly played at power forward and center at Syracuse, but at his current weight (around 220-230 pounds), it’s unlikely he’ll be able to do the same at the NBA level. If he gains 15-20 pounds, there’s a chance for him as a 4, which could create mismatches on a solid inside/outside game. Lydon’s a solid rebounder (8.6 per game last year), but also needs to get more aggressive on the boards if he wants to find success there in the NBA.

What can he do to improve?

Mentioned him being aggressive above, but that really goes for his entire game. Lydon was reasonably dynamic off the ball (especially on the inside), but increased movement could help him be in a better position away from the rim. Tyler also needs to create his own shot more -- something that’s been a struggle in his two years with the Orange. The ability to do for yourself on offense is essential in the pros. If he can improve there and gain the aforementioned weight, he could develop into much more of a matchup problem over time.

What style of play suits him best?

A team the runs a lot of pick-and-rolls, and has a capable point guard that can help get the most out of the players on the floor with him. Lydon can’t create much of a shot for himself right now, so having a capable distributor to assist him there early on would be vital to his success. He was an active defender in the zone, but we’ll have to see how that effort translates to a man-to-man scheme in the NBA. A team that can play with some pace (like the Hawks) and force him to push a bit more and get out in transition could end up making a great investment by drafting Lydon. 

To which current NBA player would you compare him?

The Houston Rockets’ Ryan Anderson is a reasonable comparison. Anderson has range and is an accurate and reliable shooter from three, as well as the free throw line. Lydon may be able to pull down more rebounds and is a more capable shot-blocker than Anderson, but overall shooting prowess is about the same. Lydon’s also the more athletic player of the two, which should certainly help his upside versus Anderson’s ceiling (a 30-minutes-per-game power forward whose primary role is on the offensive end).