Not that it was ever much of a question, really, but isn’t it nice to know that Tyler Lydon isn’t going anywhere? The 6-foot-9 forward said right after Syracuse lost in the Final Four that he had no plans on going pro, and now, with the NBA Draft early entry deadline come and gone, there’s no longer any risk of him changing his mind.
Last season, Lydon surprised a lot of folks (not me!) with his talent level, averaging 10.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game while shooting a team-best 40.5% from three point range. As I’ve long believed, he remains the best long-term NBA prospect on the current Syracuse roster, and I think that holds true moving forward. It’s not often you find a player with his combination of length, athleticism, and skill.
But for the time being, at least, that abundance of talent will be wearing Orange (for at least another year), and hopefully he’ll be joined next year by Malachi Richardson, leading Syracuse next season to some potentially great heights. The 2016-2017 roster is still taking shape, and players like Taurean Thompson, Cheickna Dembele, Grant Mullins, and John Gillon could still be added to the mix, but even if only Richardson returns and none of those players enter the fray, next year could still be a very highly successful one.
And that’s thanks largely to the return of Lydon, who I think will have a tremendous sophomore season as he becomes more confident in his game and gets more aggressive on offense. I think we’re only scratching the surface with Lydon, and if he can pack on another 10-15 pounds of muscle this offseason, the sky is the limit. He could easily become a lottery pick next year.