The connection was a flash of what could be. Monte Morris, swiping a pass along the sideline at midcourt and quickly getting downhill toward the rim on a fast break. Tyler Lydon trailed the play, sprinting behind Morris. Morris flipped a behind-the-back pass to his Rio Grande Valley teammate, who threw down a monster two-handed dunk.
Lydon spent the majority of his 2017-18 season getting experience in the G League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers before a knee injury cut his season short. He played in one game with the Nuggets. Lydon had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in January, and spent the remainder of the season rehabbing the injury. According to his agent, who has done multiple interviews with news outlets on the subject, Lydon is hoping to be ready to play for the Nuggets summer league team in July.
Prior to the injury, Lydon was playing well. In fact, his final stats with Rio Grande Valley were nearly identical to his college stats in his final season at Syracuse, which earned him a first-round draft selection, No. 24 overall, to the Nuggets.
2017-18 at Rio Grande Valley: 12.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 51.8 field goal percentage, 36.7 3-point percentage.
2016-17 at Syracuse: 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 47.2 field goal percentage, 39.2 3-point percentage.
At his best, Lydon put a solid floor game on the court. He ran the court well, was athletic to the rim, was not afraid to mix it up for rebounds, and was scrappy in diving to the court for loose balls. On draft night, Nuggets brass expressed high hopes that Lydon could grow into a bonafide shooting power forward. When he returns to full health, he’ll get a chance to get back on the road to being just that.
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter