A guy named Trey shouldn’t have to be persuaded to throw 3-pointers, but Dwane Casey found himself in that position after watching Trey Lyles pass a handful of open triples in last week’s loss to Miami. .
It was hard to ignore the box’s scoring, although Casey hadn’t just seen Lyles repeatedly go wrong against Miami’s zone defense and let the 3-point shot go by begging to get caught in. the process. In 25 minutes, a season-high that night, Lyles – for the only time in 20 games of the season so far – failed to even manage a triple.
The next night in Milwaukee, after Casey’s pep talk? Eight 3-point tries. In three games since the Miami incident, Lyles has averaged five 3-point attempts per game and has made 7 of 15.
“I said to Trey, ‘Just shoot the ball. This is what you do. Every time you touch it, let it fly, ”Killian Hayes said after Lyles was instrumental in bringing the Pistons together 19 points in the third quarter to put themselves in position to win in the final six minutes of the game. Sunday game with the Lakers. “It started in Milwaukee. Hit some big bangs. He’s aggressive – takes three, actually. That’s what Trey does.
Lyles, in fact, has been a slightly below average 3-point shooter during his NBA career, now in his seventh season. But he’s shown flashes, including a career-high 38.7% when he played a career-high 20 minutes per game with San Antonio two years ago, also the season Lyles started a high. in career 53 games. And one of the reasons Lyles was stuck with the 12e pick in 2015 after a season at Kentucky was the projection that it would become a premium fourth stretch.
Barely 26 years old, Casey considers this to be still at stake.
“He’s smart,” Casey said. “People forget how young he is. He’s on the same timeline as some of our other young players, which is a plus.
Lyles has had to adjust to play almost exclusively at center in recent weeks, while the Pistons have survived Kelly Olynyk’s absence with a knee injury, which should keep her from playing for most of the month. December and maybe longer. While Lyles doesn’t have the explosive length to become a true rim protector, he has held up well defensively and as a rebounder, averaging 9.4 boards per 36 minutes.
“He’s been great for us,” Grant said of Lyles. “Being able to spread the ground, they have to keep it there. A great shooter, but also a real smart player. He knows what passes to make, what cuts to make. And on the defensive side, he’s really good.
Lyles spent his first two seasons in Utah and his next two in Denver, then signed with San Antonio as a free agent in 2019 and spent the last two seasons with Spurs. The Pistons saw a young player with an identifiable skill set perhaps ready to flourish and were able to land him a two-year contract at the relative bargain price of $ 2.5 million per year.
He’ll likely come back behind Jerami Grant when Olynyk returns, but he’s proven capable of playing either place now and gives Casey more roster flexibility.
“When Kelly comes back he’s going to fit in really well as a four with his shooting ability,” said Casey. “He’s smart. He knows how to space at position five to create his own shot. It’s a weapon.