San Antonio Spurs: Trey Lyles needs to work for his minutes
By Dylan Carter
As the last addition to the 2019-20 roster, San Antonio Spurs forward Trey Lyles needs to work to earn his spot in the team’s rotation.
Third time’s the charm – or at least that’s the hope for newly-signed San Antonio Spurs forward Trey Lyles. After stints with two quality organizations in the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets, the 23-year-old landed in the Alamo City in hopes of expanding his repertoire and building value with one of the most trusted organizations in professional sports.
Lyles never quite carved out a significant role for himself in either of those spots with 19 minutes per game being a career-high in his third season in the league and his first in the Mile-High City.
His 9.9 points, 4.8 boards and 1.2 assists that year was easily the best average stat line he’s produced thus far, especially after the rapid drop off he took between that year and the following season. Lyles’ 56.6 effective field goal percentage dropped off to an abysmal 47 percent last season, so this year with the Spurs will truly be about improving himself as a potential bench scorer and facilitator at the four-spot.
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San Antonio’s bench rotation is deep this season and even though he filled the roster spot that was expected to be plugged by Marcus Morris, minutes could be hard to come by for Lyles. Unless an unforeseen injury occurs or Lyles truly breaks out, he may not be one of the first five off the bench. In my projected bench mob lineup, Lyles was pushed out by DeMarre Carroll and Lonnie Walker IV at the small forward and power forward with Jakob Poeltl in the middle.
This is not guaranteed by any means as Bryn Forbes, Carroll and Poeltl all have the potential to slide into the starting five while Walker could easily fall behind in the rotation. Because of the intensity of the Western Conference, Gregg Popovich will certainly tinker with his lineup based on who’s performing to the best of their ability and the matchups with the opposing team.
Lyles’ work ethic has been challenged by fans heading into this season, but all of that pales in comparison to the challenge awaiting him at training camp. Pop expects full effort and unwavering execution from his players, so we’ll be able to determine Lyles’ fit with the team relatively early on.
To be fair, it took Jakob Poeltl about half of last season to catch on to Pop’s coaching style and begin executing his role on an elite level. This could very well be the case for Lyles, but only one thing is guaranteed: Trey Lyles needs to work his tail off to earn minutes on Pop’s team.