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Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: Jeremy Tyler

Everyone remembers Brandon Jennings’ decision to circumvent the NBA’s minimum age requirement by playing professionally in Europe for a year rather than spend a year in college. It worked out well for Jennings, who became a lottery pick and was one of the top contenders for Rookie of the Year last season.

Latavious Williams was the example in last year’s draft. He skipped college and went to the NBA Developmental League. Although Williams wasn’t as talented as Jennings, he still parlayed his athleticism into becoming a second round pick this season.

Jeremy Tyler, however, is by far the most interesting test case. Tyler didn’t just skip college, he skipped his senior year of high school to turn pro, signing with a team in Israel. Things didn’t work out so well there. His lack of maturity was a constant criticism (not surprising, considering he was only 17) and he eventually quit the team. He’s re-emerged this season with the Tokyo Apache in Japan, trying to rebuild his draft position. Whether you’re supportive of his decision or not, Tyler is still a young big man with tremendous upside and many teams will consider him in the 2011 draft.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-11, 240 pounds, center playing professionally in Japan

Key stats: 9.2 points, 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 52 percent

Projected: Second round

How would he help the Pistons?

Joe Dumars has never been afraid to take projects in the second round. Mehmet Okur was a solid reserve on the title team and later became an All-Star in Utah. Amir Johnson never realized his potential in Detroit, but his experience here playing behind veteran, tough big men no doubt made him a better player and he’s a serviceable rotation guy for the Raptors now. It would’ve been nice if both guys were more productive as Pistons, but the general principle — finding the best upside when picking in the second round — isn’t a bad one. Second round picks rarely pan out, and Dumars has had moderately good success in that round compared to his contemporaries in the league.

Tyler, at 19, is already bigger and stronger than some of the college-seasoned bigs who will be available in the second round. He hasn’t played a lot in Japan, but his per-minute averages are pretty good — he’s getting about 10 points and 6 boards in only 15 minutes per game. Tyler is extremely athletic and, as you can see in the below clip from Asia Basketball Update, he’s incredibly raw but still a load inside with pretty solid footwork for such a young big:

He wouldn’t be an immediate help to the Pistons, but who realistically expects any second round pick to make an impact as a rookie? With Ben Wallace around one more year and Greg Monroe continuing to develop, as well as hopefully another big taken in the first round of the draft, Tyler would have a chance to learn from a couple of hard-working veterans and get some D-League time while the team evaluates whether or not he could become a solid player in the long term.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

There are two obvious question marks when it comes to Tyler.

First, the maturity thing. Now there’s certainly something to be said about a kid who has been a professional overseas for two years. Not many 17-year-olds would handle that well, and I’m sure Tyler has grown from the experience. But the fact that he quit a team and the fact that he decided to go pro at age 17 in the first place will at the very least cause teams to ask some questions about him.

And secondly, last season, in a very tough pro league in Israel, he didn’t play much before quitting. The Japan league he’s in now certainly isn’t an easy league, but the competition level is a notch or two below Israel and some of the top leagues in Europe. Tyler has shown progress on the court, but until he’s in a NBA camp, facing NBA caliber big men, it’s going to be really tough to evaluate where he’s at. He turns the ball over quite a bit and has been in foul trouble quite a bit this season.

Still though, if he’s around in the second round, that upside would be incredibly intriguing.

What are others saying?

From Asia Basketball Update:

“He is an athlete, there is no questioning that. He is quick, long, and can get up, but he is really raw. I have watched eight of his games now and have not seen him hit a shot farther than a free throw and have never seen him make a move with his left hand.”

From ESPN:

Positives

* Big body, great size
* Elite athleticism
* Skilled player can face the basket and post up

Negatives

* Lacks emotional maturity
* Made a terrible decision to skip high school and college
* Where is he going to play and how are scouts going to evaluate him?

Previously

5 Comments

  • Mar 7, 20116:01 pm
    by BIG MARV

    Reply

    I say get the guy if he’s there and the first thing I will do is play him in the summer leauge and in the the D-leauge all season. I think detroit will be fine with jerebko and Monroe in the frontcourt next year and big ben and Charlie V coming off the bench. From the tape he is raw and hes got good talent but avg 8 points and 6 reb in a foregin leauge is not impressive at all and on top of that its real slow basketball overseas with alot of jump shooting and they all play Harvard style offense. Then with his attitude I dont know if he would work especially if detroit keeps kuester. Now if they go out and get Lambeer (like everybody wishes) then this guy will be a monster under hos toolage. But you must send him to the D-leauge a.s.a.p. unless he just has a hell of a summer leauge. I would draft him because it is hard to find a 6’11/7’0 center and he has good size reminds me of a poor man’s Andrew Bynum.

  • Mar 8, 20117:30 am
    by TDP

    Reply

    DraftExpress has the kid listed as 6’9″ w/o shoes.

  • Mar 8, 20119:38 am
    by Steve K

    Reply

    Not a major follower of the Japan league, so I can’t claim to ever actually see the kid play. With that said, PH raises some severe red flags. Specifically, the maturity factor.
     
    Tom Kowalski was commenting the other day about football prospects, and he said the one thing that all successful prospects had in common (in his opinion) was a willingness and eagerness to study and work. Those that had no interest (Ryan Leaf) tended to fail.
     
    The same is somewhat true in basketball… although talent alone takes you a bit further than in football. If a kid isn’t mature enough to put in the work, he’s going to fail 9 times out of 10. Obviously, Greg Monroe’s maturity level served him well this season. He battled through some tough rookie mistakes and folks calling him a bust in his first week. He worked hard and is now considered one of the best of his class.
     
    If Jeremy Tyler still has maturity issues and can’t put in the work to develop a post-move to his left? That’s scary. No thanks. I’d rather the Pistons draft an unathletic 3pt sharpshooter and pray he develops into Matt Bonner.

    • Mar 8, 201110:07 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      @Steve:

      Don’t confuse maturity issues with lack of eagerness to work or get better. Plenty of immature players have worked hard and developed into good players.

      I would worry about whether or not someone actually loves the game first and foremost. Tyler is 19 and his issues occurred when he was 17/18. You’re supposed to be kind of immature at those ages.

      I think there are ways to tell how serious he is about basketball, and if he passes those tests to the satisfaction of team executives, his upside is definitely worth a second round pick.

      • May 19, 201111:36 am
        by asiabasketballupdate

        Reply

        Patrick,
        I just saw this article, thanks for reading my blog and linking to it. I hope everyone has a chance to check out my latest post on Tyler. I look at the end of his season and try to figure out what his stats in Japan actually mean.
        http://www.asiabasketballupdate.com/jeremy-tyler.html
        I think you make the most important point, and that is maturity should not be confused with whether or not a young player wants to get better. Tyler showed a ton of improvement. He started hitting outside shots, extending out to about 18 feet. He also began to look more comfortable in the post, especially facing up to beat his man off the dribble.
        I am excited to see how he tests out today at the Pre Draft Camp.

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