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Syracuse basketball: Chad Ford says Tyler Lydon’s a first round pick

The forward enters his sophomore season with a lot of hype and plenty of people talking NBA Draft.

Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

You know what “they” say, it just doesn’t feel like August until we have our first official NBA mock draft for next year’s rookie class.

Well, it became official today as NBA draft analyst Chad Ford of released his ‘Mock Draft 1.0’ for the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Syracuse Orange’s Tyler Lydon, who has yet to officially begin his sophomore season playing for the Orange, finds himself right in the middle of the first round.

Ford has Lydon getting picked at No. 21 by the Indiana Pacers, saying this about the selection:

The Pacers actually dumped their 2016 first-rounder to land a power forward from the Nets, Thaddeus Young.

But Lydon is an intriguing prospect whose abilities to both shoot the ball and protect the rim will draw a lot of attention from scouts this year.

(Ed. Note: Lydon playing for the Pacers would be the most Pacers thing ever...)

Lydon proved himself to be a good outside shooter, especially for a tall player, as he shot 40.5 percent from three last season. That’s a trait that is no doubt valued highly across the NBA landscape, where “stretch fours” are all the rage.

But it’s Ford’s second point that’s more intriguing: Lydon’s ability to protect the rim. So often last season, Lydon was called upon to play the center position in SU’s 2-3 zone defense, and he did so more capably than could have ever been expected of him.

This season, however, defensive positioning may look a little different for Lydon. Last year’s front court mates DaJuan Coleman and Tyler Roberson return, but the big difference is the addition of Providence transfer Paschal Chukwu.

With Coleman and Chukwu manning the center position, Lydon projects to play much more on the wings this season, which will potentially change the way NBA scouts view him as a prospect.

All of this remains to be seen, because we don’t know how much the big men will be able to play each game and how well they’ll be able to stay out of foul trouble. If there’s an issue with either of those things, Lydon will be next man up.

Earlier in August, Ford released his “Big Board 1.0” and had Lydon listed as the No. 22 NBA prospect. Here’s what he said at that point:

Lydon has a coveted set of skills: He can shoot the 3, protect the rim and shows terrific athleticism.

He needs to add some consistency to his game, but that should come as a sophomore.

Lydon’s also listed as a first round pick in other very early mock drafts. has Lydon going at No. 15 to the Houston Rockets, and has Lydon listed at No. 17, which would send him to a team just inside the NBA playoff bubble. Last season, those options included the Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks and the Rockets.

Expect the hype to continue for Lydon. As you may remember, the Big Lead already named him the ninth-best player in college basketball earlier in the summer.