Nuggets 2018-19 Player Previews: Trey Lyles

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider
@chrisadempsey

Last Season: Trey Lyles was arguably the most intriguing Nuggets player from the standpoint of what he could be. Last season was an appetizer. Lyles, who the Nuggets acquired in a draft day trade with the Utah Jazz in 2017, averaged 9.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and shot 49.1 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from the 3-point line. His points, rebounds, assists and overall shooting percentage were all career bests. He played an average of 19.1 minutes in 73 games.

Here’s what was so tantalizing: Lyles excelled in nearly every offensive action. His 3-point shooting and post-up combination was arguably the best on the team, this side of Nikola Jokic. As a spot-up shooter – the majority of which were 3-point shots – Lyles averaged 1.101 points per possession, per Synergy stats, and shot 44.1 percent in those actions. Lyles was good in catch-and-shoot situations, making 40.3 percent of those tries. He was also in the top 10 in the NBA in post-up efficiency at 1.045 points per possession. Defensively, he was the most underrated player on the team.

2018-19 Outlook: Expect Lyles to perhaps take the biggest jump on the team in playing time this season. It shouldn’t be a surprise if he’s over 25 minutes per game in a role where he’ll play every night. He, along with newcomer Isaiah Thomas, will be the point players counted on for scoring punch off of the bench, and all signs point to Lyles being ready. He’s in the best shape of his career, and now has a clear path to significant playing time each night out.

Bold Prediction: Lyles will average over 15.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, and shoot 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line.

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