When Jeremy Tyler hit the floor at the beginning of the 2nd quarter in Denver, it was his first game action since February 9th when he was a member of the Golden State Warriors. Monday marked the 7th game that Atlanta had played since his acquisition, but it was the first opportunity to touch the court as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, and he didn’t disappoint.
The code word of “upside” is generally reserved for under-developed players with physical talents and skills, and that certainly applies to Tyler. On the bright side last night, you could just see the athleticism as he bounced around the court at 6’10, 260 lbs with ease. The numbers weren’t (on the whole) impressive over his brief, 5-minute appearance, but he did manage to grab 3 rebounds, and at no point did he look out of place on the court. There is a mold of young, athletic bigs (think Derrick Favors?) that I believe Tyler fits into as far as talent/explosion, but the knocks on him in previous stops surround his motor and offensive skill level.
Personally, I didn’t see any motor concerns on the court Monday night, and while I admit that 5 minutes is a wildly small sample to evaluate such a trait, Tyler moved with energy throughout the night, showing on screens and attacking the glass aggressively, especially on the defensive end. If he’s going to make an impact on the Hawks this season, it would likely take an injury (to Zaza and/or Ivan Johnson), but he showed (again, over a small sample) that it wouldn’t be an immediate liability to put him on the court.
It’s tough to take too much out of his debut, but there is significant upside in Tyler, and for the price that Danny Ferry paid (a 2013 2nd-round pick) for him, it’s a no-lose situation. It’s a lottery ticket that this franchise hasn’t seemed to convert on a regular basis, but it’s great to see a long, athletic big man roaming the paint for Atlanta.