With the fourth draft profile, HawksHoop will take a look at another Kentucky freshman, Trey Lyles. He has been mocked as high as sixth, and there are plenty of rumors that the Knicks could be trading down to grab him, but he could also slip to the Hawks pick.
Forward, 6’10, 241 lbs. Freshman, University of Kentucky, 19 years old
2014-15 college stats:
23 minutes, 8.7 points, 48.8 FG%, 13.8 3P%, 73.5 FT%, 1.1 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 0.4 blocks, 19.8 PER.
Trey Lyles is another forward the Atlanta Hawks could look to draft with the 15th pick. While Lyles was put in an odd position at Kentucky as the third best big man and relegated to play small forward, there were flashes of what he could be in the NBA. Lyles size is probably his biggest advantage right now. He’s 6’10 with a 7’1.5 or 7’3.5 wingspan — depending on if you go by Nike Hoop Summit’s or the NBA Combine’s measurements. Lyles also weighs 240, which should allow him to bang down low with the big guys. With that size, Lyles was able to pull down about five rebounds in 23 minutes a game, or about eight per 36 minutes. Grabbing that many boards while competing with Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein is pretty impressive.
Trey Lyles also has a pretty good passing game for a guy his size. He has court vision that allowed him to average about two assists per 36 minutes, and that’s not bad for dude his size. That court vision could really come in handy on the Hawks.
Although Lyles didn’t shoot well away from the hoop, he did really well at the rim. He shot 74.4%, which was only slightly worse than teammate Karl-Anthony Towns, who shot 75.7%. Willie Cauley-Stein shot 72.7%, and Jahlil Okafor shot 76.5%. Okafor and Towns are most likely going to be the top two picks in the draft, while Cauley-Stein should go top ten. That’s not bad company to be in.
Like a lot of prospects in the draft, Lyles is incredibly young at just 19 years old. He has plenty of room to grow in his game.
While Lyles was forced to play small forward in Kentucky’s lineup, he will probably end up playing power forward in the NBA. However, many people want him to be a stretch-four, but he shot only 13.8% from 3 in his only season in college. You read that right. He only took 29 total 3s throughout the season, but made only four. To go along with that, he shot a lowly 39.2% on 2-point jumpers, according to hoop-math.com. He doesn’t have a bad shooting stroke, so he could definitely become a better shooter, though.
Another question mark for Lyles is what position he will defend at the next level. He wasn’t fast enough to guard small forwards in college, so he shouldn’t be expected to in the NBA. As far as defending against bigger guards go, he could get backed down in the post pretty easily. He also posted really low steal and block numbers. His defense is probably the worst part of his game right now.
Fit with the Atlanta Hawks:
It’s harder to evaluate Trey Lyles more than most prospects because he was playing out of position for a full year due to the circumstances at Kentucky this past season. Lyles is a lot like Kelly Oubre in the sense that he won’t really help the team right away, and Hawks are most likely looking to add a key rotation piece due to how close they came to playing in the Finals this past season. Again, drafting someone like Portis who can fill a role off the bench right away is probably what’s best for this team. If the team were to take on a player that they could develop, I would rather them grab Kelly Oubre because I think he has more potential. If Pero Antic and Paul Millsap don’t come back next year, Lyles could see playing time, but that’s not the best case scenario for the Hawks.