Free agent target No. 4: Trey Lyles, Big
Trey Lyles spent much of his early career being the “fun fact” attached to other star players. Fun fact: Trey Lyles was the player the Denver Nuggets got back when they traded back and let the Utah Jazz draft Donovan Mitchell. Or, fun fact: Trey Lyles was drafted No. 12 overall in 2015, one pick ahead of his Kentucky teammate Devin Booker.
What has happened in the last couple of seasons, however, is that Lyles has started to find his niche in the league. When the Utah Jazz drafted him he bore the upside of a star at power forward, a player who could carve out a Carlos Boozer-like role, scoring 20 and grabbing 10 rebounds.
That wasn’t in the cards for Lyles, but he has worked hard over a journeyman career to improve his shooting, become a better defender and earn a consistent role in this league. The Sacramento Kings traded for him last season and he has played in nearly every game since, a key rotation player on one of the league’s most successful teams this year.
The Atlanta Hawks will be looking for frontcourt help this offseason, especially if they find a way to move on from John Collins or De’Andre Hunter. Lyles represents an underrated target, a player who can space the floor and crash the glass while not compromising the defense. He would be an excellent fit with Onyeka Okongwu on bench units, and his connection to his first NBA coach could be the carrot that draws him in.