Earlier this week, Canada’s own Trey Lyles scored 18 points and notched 5 rebounds in 32 minutes of action against the Memphis Grizzlies. Lyles has now appeared in every game for the Utah Jazz and this marks the 3rd time on the season he has scored in double figures. He will likely continue to see extended playing time with Boris Diaw still out with a right leg contusion. When the Jazz exercised their team option on Lyles last month, he will remain under his rookie contract until the end of the 2017-2018 season. A consistent player in a young rotation, the Jazz are hopeful that the just turned 21 year old forward can continue to grow and help the Jazz move in the right direction. Utah currently sits 6th in the Western Conference with a 7-5 record.
Now entering his second NBA season, Trey Lyles has shown both growing pains and flashes of potential. When the Utah Jazz unloaded their stacked front court a few years ago, Lyles was selected 12th overall out of Kentucky and has instantly become a contributing member of the core. Last season he appeared in 80 games (starting 33 of them) and averaged 6.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. His best game came on April 10th when he scored 22 points in a winning effort against the Denver Nuggets.
The growing process is the same for most young players coming in to the NBA. If you are lucky, the player will reach instant stardom like Lyles’ former college teammate Karl Anthony-Towns. However, most of the time it requires patience on the part of management and a hard work ethic on the part of the player. “I’m just trying to improve and work hard, trying to let the game come to me, trying to take advantage of my teammates putting me in positions to be successful” Lyles said to the Salt Lake Tribune earlier this month. His mentality and determination do not appear to be concerns early on, so building his confidence is key for Lyles’ maturity. Like every coach will tell their young players, you play better when you relax do not over-think/hesitate. Playing more freely forces players to analyze situations and make quicker decisions as opposed to having the ball stuck to their hands. Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder has praised Lyles’ determination and offensive talent but has stated that he wants Lyles to grow into a solid two-way player. After all, defense is half the game, especially for a 6’10 forward who often defends close to the rim. This is where getting in the weight room and getting stronger is important for improving his defensive game. On the offensive side, Lyles has the ability to pass effectively and knock down the mid-range shots. However, his 3 point shooting needs the most improvement, as he is shooting a low 21.95% from beyond the arc this season.
Trey Lyles has come a long way to get to where he is in the NBA. Born in Saskatoon, Lyles then moved to Indianapolis and won the Mr. Indiana award after leading his high school Arsenal Tech to the State Championship. Lyles also represented Team Canada in the 2013 FIBA U-19 World Championship, finishing second on the team in scoring behind Tyler Ennis. After enrolling at the University of Kentucky, Lyles played one season as a freshman and was named to the SEC All-Freshmen Team after helping the Wildcats to the NCAA Final Four. Now with the Utah Jazz, Lyles is determined to not only become a consistent player in the NBA but maybe even reach star level. The Jazz,and Canadian Basketball fans would certainly love to witness that if he continues to put in work and grow his game. Catch Trey Lyles and the Utah Jazz in action tomorrow when they host Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls, live at 10:30 p.m. Eastern. Check @atbnews and atbnews.com for the latest updates and highlights.