Syracuse’s Tyler Lydon, potential first-rounder, entering NBA draft

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Syracuse coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins is leaving for Washington.

Also departing Syracuse: sophomore forward Tyler Lydon.

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports:

Lydon ranks somewhere between a potential and probable first-rounder.

A 6-foot-9 forward, Lydon projects most favorably as a stretch four. There, his smooth outside shooting and athleticism could be major assets.

But he’s so thin, there’s a risk he might have to play small forward, at least initially. His ball-handling skills and foot speed are too lacking for the wing, though.

The positive spin: Gaining strength, often necessary for young players, offers Lydon a clear path to improvement. Natural physical progression could help Lydon shore up a major concern: rebounding. Lydon has already shown quality timing (though not enough reliability) for blocking shots, so perhaps his other big-man skills will come around as he gets stronger.

Asking Lydon to create shots for himself or others is a recipe for failure. Planting him inside too much too soon will come with major downside.

But if Lydon, who turns 21 in a couple weeks, goes to a team that gives him a limited role that fits his strengths, he could be quite valuable in it. Three-point-shooting, shot-blocking big men are all the rage.