The Utah Jazz have selected Kentucky forward Trey Lyles with the No. 12 pick in Thursday's NBA draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Lyles, a 6'11" power forward, is one of seven Kentucky underclassmen who declared early for the draft.
Lyles played in 36 of Kentucky's 39 games during his lone season on campus, making 21 starts. He averaged 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds in 23 minutes per game.
His playing time increased after Alex Poythress went down with a season-ending injury. Lyles averaged 10.9 points and 5.4 rebounds over the final 14 games of the season.
Lyles was born in Saskatchewan and has represented the United States and Canada internationally.
Mannix's analysis: Lyles was a tough player to project. His numbers weren’t great, but he was playing behind great players and playing out of position. As a power forward, Lyles has solid potential. He is a poor man’s Karl-Anthony Towns; Lyles has a nice low post skill set and showed flashes of a burgeoning mid-range game. Defensively, he’s not a shot blocker but if he can be a consistent rebounder at the NBA level, he can find a home in the Utah rotation, which has a need for a backup power forward.
Strengths: Lyles is able to do a little bit of everything and is comfortable attacking off the dribble and finishing at the basket. He has the makings of a solid post game. He’s a good passer and face-up player with a decent mid-range game, and the development of his three-point shot will be key to his value. While the prospect of Lyles as a stretch-four is enticing, he has enough talent and versatility to become a very solid offensive cog, though he may never be a true star. He’s just 19 and has plenty of time to polish his game, and there’s plenty for teams to work with.
Weaknesses: The main strike against Lyles is that he lacks top-level leaping and quickness. His offensive skills, especially with added shooting range could certainly make up for that. Though he wasn’t that productive statistically, you have to remember how things work at Kentucky. Plus, his per-minute stats are more forgiving. It’s Lyles’s defense that begs the most questions—he won’t be able to guard small forwards like he did at Kentucky. While Lyles can match most four-men from a physical standpoint, he’s not a shot-blocker. If he doesn't improve the jumper or prove to be passable defensively, his prospects are far less exciting.