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#12 Utah Jazz: Trey Lyles

With the 12th pick, the Jazz selected Trey Lyles.

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With the 12th pick in the 2015 draft, the Utah Jazz selected Kentucky power forward Trey Lyles.

Lyles played most of his college career out of position at small forward with Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein occupying the big spots, but many believe he can be the sort of playmaking 4 the NBA has begun to covet. He has a variety of skills for a 6’10 player, including a definite ability to put the ball on the floor and create some offense.

The questions for him will be whether or not his physical profile transfers over to the NBA level. The Jazz have their foundation built on a defensive culture, and Lyles needs to be able to play excellent defense for his position. Whether or not he’ll be capable of this is tough to parse given the amount of time he spent defending wings in college, something he won’t be doing at the next level.

As far as the fit for the Jazz, it’s somewhat interesting, and a little surprising to this eye. The Jazz badly need distance shooting, but Lyles hasn’t really shown much in this regard in his time before the draft. He shot just 13.8 percent from beyond-the-arc last season and 73.5 percent from the free-throw line, and I’m just unsure he can ever develop the sort of range the Jazz might need.

But he has upside, and shooting has been something certain guys have been able to develop historically. He’s versatile, a trait the Jazz desire greatly, and if he can fill multiple roles for the Jazz off the bench behind Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, he could end up making some real contributions. The onus is now on coach Quin Snyder and his staff to work hard on developing Lyles as another piece of the Jazz’s future.

Ben Dowsett is a Deputy Editor and in-depth basketball analyst based in Salt Lake City. He covers the Jazz on a credentialed basis for Basketball Insiders, and has previously appeared in the Sports Illustrated and TrueHoop Networks. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.

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