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Syracuse Basketball Preview: Tyler Lydon's a Shooter & a Whole Lot More

We continue our player preview series today with Tyler Lydon, who provides something that the other SU big men don't.

Tyler Lydon

Syracuse's offensive deficiencies last season were at least in-part a result of its inability to stretch the floor. Rakeem Christmas rarely strayed away from the rim, and though Tyler Roberson did, the forward never developed a respectable jumper. The combination of the two shrank the floor and didn't give SU's shooters much room to operate. The Orange made just 30.7 percent of its 3s and wasn't particularly effective from any area outside the paint.

That should change this season whenever Tyler Lydon, who's likely to back up Roberson at power forward, sees the floor. At 6-foot-8, Lydon has as smooth a jumper as you will see from a player his size. That alone should warrant him seeing at least some playing time, but it would be incorrect to simply label Lydon as a spot-up shooter. He's a skilled enough player to create his own shot off the dribble, both from 3 and the mid-range.

On top of that, Lydon is much more than a shooter. He's able and willing to drive and cut to the basket. Once he's there, he finishes well at the rim -- though that could change against bigger and stronger players in college. Lydon is athletic, too; he's an impressive jumper and has the ability to play above the rim.

In the video below, that's Lydon catching and throwing down an alley-oop off an inbound pass.

Adding to his offensive versatility, Lydon can also pass and pass well. In his high school games that I watched, he made nice entry passes and crosscourt dishes to open shooters.

On the defensive side, Lydon struggles with smaller, quicker forwards, who have little trouble running right by him. Though that'll be less of an issue in the 2-3 zone, he'll still be susceptible to those mismatches to some extent.

Of course, that doesn't mean he's a bad defender. Much like Moustapha Diagne, who won't be coming to Syracuse in the fall, Lydon is quick and has long arms. He's thus able to close out on shooters and amply contest their jumpers.

We'll see how quickly Lydon adapts to playing the 2-3 zone, but his scoring prowess alone -- and specifically his range -- should earn him some minutes immediately. And without Diagne in the fold, Lydon should be Syracuse's first big man off the bench with the primary responsibility of relieving Tyler Roberson. And while Lydon obviously isn't the all-around player that Roberson is, his skill set will be especially beneficial to other SU sharpshooters, namely Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson.