Among the many former Syracuse Orange men’s basketball players we’ve talked about during the NBA offseason, one name that was conspicuously absent was Tyler Lydon’s.
Despite being selected in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz (before being traded to the Nuggets), the former Orange forward never really got a lot of court time on the veteran roster. His team option was not picked up, so his NBA future was in doubt this summer. However, it appears he’ll get his chance from the Sacramento Kings (as initially reported by Adrian Wojnarowski — and later confirmed by Lydon himself).
Through two NBA seasons thus far, Lydon has played in just 26 games, though 25 of those were in 2018-19. He scored 23 points in 94 minutes, while also collected 18 boards. He shot 4-of-10 from three, which is promising though a very small sample size. Even if the Nuggets had picked up his option, it’s uncertain how he’d find a role there, especially with Jerami Grant also sent to Denver last week.
Lydon’s two-year deal means there’s an investment in having him in Sacramento, though he’s going to be battling for playing time there too, whether he plays the three (less likely) or the four (the most logical spot). The Kings currently have four other power forwards on the roster, including Marvin Bagley III, Nemanja Bjelica, Harry Giles III and Wenyen Gabriel. There are also three players at small forward: Harrison Barnes, Bogdan Bogdanovic and one-time SU player B.J. Johnson.
Hopefully Lydon can work his way into some meaningful minutes in Sacramento. In recent interviews, he’s described how anxious he is to get one more chance to prove himself at the NBA level. Perhaps a young Kings team that’s highly unlikely to make the postseason (no matter what the organization itself thinks) is that chance.