Trey Lyles ended up at Kentucky with a heralded group of freshman, and the results of the Wildcats season shows how strong a team they had, especially their big men. Lyles had to switch to small forward in order to get on the floor, and he did struggle at first, but eventually Lyle found his way and ended up contributing. Lyle has good size, standing at a true 6'10 and weighing in at 240 pounds. When forward Alex Poythress got injured, it opened the door for Lyle to receive consistent playing time and by the end of the season he was being called one of the most important players on the team.
Lyles, who was rated the number four power forward nationally and 11th overall by Scout.com, has a lot of skills that are going to help his transition into the NBA. Along with his excellent size, Lyles also has excellent footwork, strong passing ability, strong ball-handling ability, good hands, excellent flexibility (plays multiple positions), and he can hit shots from anywhere. Lyles is a well-rounded player who should succeed in the NBA. Lyles isn't as athletic as some of the other top power forward prospects, but he's so good fundamentally that he should be able to overcome any of those shortcomings. Lyles has to get stronger and he should avoid trying to cover small forwards because he'll get scorched by their lateral quickness.
Lyles is from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but he moved to Indiana when he was a kid. He attended Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, graduating in 2014 as one of the top high school basketball players in the country. Lyles played in 28 games as a senior, averaging 23.7 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.4 blocks, and 0.9 steals per games. Lyles also led Arsenal to the Indiana High School Class 4A State Championship. He was named a Parade All-American, McDonald's All-American, Gatorade Indiana Boys Basketball Player of the Year, USA Today Second Team All-American, and Indiana Mr. Basketball. Lyles was All-State as a sophomore, junior, and senior, and he finished as the all time leading scorer and rebounder in Arsenal history. Lyles was heavily recruited in high school, choosing Kentucky over Louisville, Butler and Indiana.
Lyles made his way to Kentucky with a loaded group of talented freshman. He averaged 23 minutes, 8.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game. Lyles is a good defender, but he needs to improve his shot blocking ability, something that he should be able to do considering his 7'3 wingspan. Sometimes it is just a matter of coaching, which he'll receive in the NBA. Lyles was named to the 2015 All-SEC Freshman Team and was a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week, but it took awhile for him to get acclimated to the college game. After the first eight games, which were very up and down, Lyles starting getting consistent minutes and his play improved in a big way.
The Celtics definitely have interest in the smooth power forward, but like with all the power forwards in this draft, he has a long way to go before he is a starter for a playoff team. Boston is looking to make the jump to 50 wins, and they are going to make a big push for free agent LaMarcus Aldridge. The Celtics also may trade the pick for a proven big, so before fans get excited about a young big coming to town, it would be smart to temper excitement until everything comes to fruition.