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    Season Review: Trey Lyles

    The journeyman forward may have finally found a home in Sacramento as one of the most valuable bench players on the team.
    By | 43 Comments | Jun 9, 2023

    Feb 6, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Trey Lyles (41) dunks against the Houston Rockets in the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    When the Kings traded Marvin Bagley III to the Detroit Pistons in February of 2022, it was ostensibly made so the Kings could acquire Donte DiVincenzo. They also received Josh Jackson and Trey Lyles in the deal for salary matching purposes. A little more than a year later and it seems the real prize from the trade has been Trey Lyles, who served an important bench role for the Kings as they made their best run in 16 years. Lyles averaged 7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 16.9 minutes a game off the bench.

    One of the few questions and disappointments the Kings faced this season was their backup big rotation behind Domantas Sabonis. Coach Mike Brown tried many different lineups and rotations, even through the end of the season and the playoffs, to try to find something that consistently worked. Players fell in and out of favor as Brown experimented, but nobody was more consistent in their effort and production than Lyles.

    One reason Lyles fit in so well in Sacramento’s offense was that he was the one Kings big man who was able to consistently stretch the floor, shooting 36.3% from distance on about 3 attempts a game. While that’s not a particularly exciting percentage, it was good enough to keep the floor spaced, and also offered him opportunities to attack the basket when opponents closed in quickly. 58.8% of Lyles FGA came from three, with another 27.9% coming at the rim. He was one of the better Kings at getting to the line as well, where he hit 81.5% of his attempts.

    Lyles also was one of the few Kings players who made the team better defensively. According to Basketball-Reference, the Kings were 2.1 points per 100 possessions better defensively with Lyles on the floor than off, while the offense was still on par.

    Lyles best game of the season came in a blowout win against the Memphis Grizzlies in January where he totaled 24 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals.

    After the game, Coach Mike Brown had this to say on Trey’s performance.

    “He’s got a tremendous feel [for the game]. His team defensive instincts within our scheme can help us get to the next level,” Brown said. “He’s going to bust his behind, he’s going to use his length, he’s not afraid to get hit in the nose, he’ll try to rebound and he’s going to get out and run and all of those things get contagious and so we need his presence because he’s not afraid, because he has a great feel, because he’s going to play so hard, because he’s going to try to finish the play with a rebound.”

    While Lyles spent most of the season as a backup Power Forward, the Kings had success at times utilizing him as a small ball center. A mid-season overtime win against the Minnesota Timberwolves stands out in particular. The Timberwolves gave the Kings fits all season with their size and length, and in this specific instance, Domantas Sabonis fouled out before overtime. Instead of trying to match size with size, Coach Brown inserted Lyles in Sabonis’ place. Lyles ability to stretch the floor drew Rudy Gobert out of the paint and changed the momentum of the game to be in Sacramento’s favor. Lyles ended up scoring 8 of his 11 points in the ensuing overtime period to help carry the Kings to victory.

    Aside from Malik Monk, no Sacramento Kings bench player was more effective this season than Trey Lyles. In fact, the better Lyles did, the better the Kings did. In the 29 games in which Lyles scored 10 or more points, the Kings went 22-7. That success carried over into the playoffs as well, as the Kings won both games in which Lyles scored double digits (16 in Game 1 and 12 in Game 6).

    Lyles is a free agent this summer and it’s no guarantee that he returns to the Kings. His play this past season has earned him a pay bump from his $2.6 million salary and he’ll definitely have some offers on the open market from teams that need solid bench depth. The Sasha Vezenkov decision will also promise to be a factor, as both Vezenkov and Lyles would likely be competing for the same minutes and role. But for Sacramento, it might make sense to retain a 27 year old who knows and fits in the system, and it likely won’t break the bank either. For his part, Trey wants to be back too.

    This will be an important summer for the Kings, and bringing Lyles back or not figures to be one of the bigger decisions for this front office.

     

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    Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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    June 9, 2023 12:45 pm

    Pay Trey. He stay.

    UpgradedToQuestionable
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    June 9, 2023 2:20 pm

    He passed the trial – Lyles has the guile, the style, and the smile. Pay him a pile.

    Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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    June 9, 2023 2:26 pm

    The man always brings a book an’ he took the fight to Brook. He started the four finger pose, before his fame rose. With Trey on the Kings we in heaven, just don’t you dare call him Kevin.

    ArcoThunder
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    June 9, 2023 3:53 pm

    The fact that he came in the MBIII trade should seal the deal

    ArcoThunder
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    June 9, 2023 3:52 pm

    pay trey. He should stay

    SuperShaka
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    June 9, 2023 6:32 pm

    Hooray

    jwalker1395
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    June 10, 2023 11:06 pm

    He feels like our Bobby Portis or something. That key role player that might become something of legend should the Kings make consistently deep playoff runs.

    murraytant
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    June 9, 2023 1:19 pm

    Good guy, good player, valuable. Keep him.
    More important to keep him than Sasha or HB

    Jack
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    June 9, 2023 3:05 pm
    Reply to  murraytant

    I agree. If you would only keep one of the free agents Lyles to me would be the one. It is still going to be hard as we need all the cap space we can get to pick up a really good power forward that will go along side Sabonis. Also need a good backup defensive center.

    aplumley
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    June 11, 2023 9:16 am
    Reply to  murraytant

    More important to keep him than Sasha or HB

    Not sure I’m on board with the sentiment. Lyles was a super valuable bench player and Barnes was the third best player on the team IMO. I don’t see Lyles being able to fill Barnes role as the third best player. I do get that Barnes is 4 years older, but Lyles won’t be able to replace Barnes shooting or versatility…ever. Sasha is a bit of an unknown vs. NBA competition, but I think it’s safe to say he’s a better shooter and probably an equally good or better rebounder. Between the three, if I had to pick who I think is most likely to be my third best player next year I probably rank him third. Barnes > Sasha > Lyles

    All that being said, using Barnes money is the most important decision MM has to make this off season. I’m not sure I’m mad if they re-sign him, use it towards Sasha, use it towards Lyles, or there may be some other free agent/trade that is an even better option. What I like is that it seems there are good options, as these players want to play in Sac, which is a refreshing change from years past.

    The team’s success will obviously hinge around Fox/Sabonis and team health. Getting the right third best player on the team is probably the next most important factor. That’s going to happen with Barnes cap space and I don’t think Lyles fills that role.

    RobHessing
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    June 9, 2023 1:47 pm

    I like Lyles a lot and I hope that we keep him, and I’ll be shocked if the market for him is beyond three years at $4-$5m annually. No reason not to retain him, with or without Sasha coming over.

    Adamsite
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    Nostradumbass 14
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    Nostradumbass 14
    June 9, 2023 5:14 pm
    Reply to  RobHessing

    Detroit signed Bagley $12.5M for 3 years last year. Dallas signed $11M per year to Max Klieber last summer. I don’t think Lyles’ agent will accept $4-5M annually after the year he just put in.

    Last edited 4 months ago by Adamsite
    RobHessing
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    June 9, 2023 8:13 pm
    Reply to  Adamsite

    We’ll see – Lyles is probably borderline top 40-50 FA in this class once we take the purple goggles off.

    eddie41
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    June 9, 2023 2:03 pm

    I thought Lyles played well and would like to see him back on the team. He might be the starting PF next to Sabonis and Keegan. How many PF’s on the market would you rank higher in terms of fit?

    RobHessing
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    June 9, 2023 2:24 pm
    Reply to  eddie41

    Jerami Grant would be a better fit, imo, but significantly more expensive. Kuzma probably is, too, but I’m not a particular fan of his. Cam Johnson. Harrison Barnes. Josh Hart. Christian Wood. Rui Hachimura (RFA). PJ Washington (RFA). Grant Williams (RFA).

    I would also take a front line of Sabonis, Murray and Thybulle over Sabonis, Lyles and Murray.

    That’s probably the list. Now, when you factor in the $$$ that would be involved for these various alternatives, Lyles could wind up being a better value, if not a superior option.

    Jack
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    June 9, 2023 3:07 pm
    Reply to  RobHessing

    Don’t forget Naz Reid.

    RobHessing
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    June 9, 2023 3:10 pm
    Reply to  Jack

    Reid’s really a center, and I’m not sure that he works next to Sabonis. I think he can be OK with him offensively, but I don’t know that he’s the guy to defend most opposing power forwards. But net-net he would likely be an upgrade over Lyles.

    eddie41
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    June 9, 2023 3:15 pm
    Reply to  Jack

    That’s one, possibly. I’m not convinced that any of the others would be an upgrade over Lyles.

    Last edited 4 months ago by eddie41
    Sacto_J
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    June 10, 2023 2:24 pm
    Reply to  eddie41

    Rui will be a stud, I think. He is currently lacking consistency but he will be a 20 & 10 guy before long.

    eddie41
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    June 9, 2023 3:13 pm
    Reply to  RobHessing

    Most of those are SF’s if not SG’s, and only one of them (Wood) rebounds better than Lyles. If the team wants to roll out a two SF lineup again and get killed on the glass, they might as well go with HB.

    One option is to play a defensive specialist who guards 2-4. I don’t see any of those players on your list as being that type of player, and I’m not particularly sold on Thybulle.

    Familiarity should count for something also.

    RobHessing
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    June 9, 2023 3:29 pm
    Reply to  eddie41

    Thybulle is the only one of those players currently not listed as a PF.

    Hart had a better season rebound percentage than Lyles. Wood was significantly better on the boards. Washington was better.

    Talent is talent, and when you ask who is on the market that is a better fit for this team as a starting front line player, I think that the list that I provided makes the Kings a better starting unit when you consider all 94′ feet of the floor and what it takes to score more points than your opponent (or hold your opponent to fewer points than you, whatever floats your boat). Grant Williams, for example, may not be the rebounder that Lyles is, but he could be an exceptional defender at the 3-4, and one that can stick the deep ball. If that frees Murray up to cover the lesser of the two 3-4 players on the opposing team and focus more on rebounding, the net result could be overwhelmingly superior to a Lyles/Murray combo. The same might be said for Thybulle.

    I like Trey Lyles. I hope that the Kings retain him. But I don’t think that he’s the answer at starting power forward, and I’m fairly certain that he winds up making less money next year than every player that I listed, meaning that the market will ultimately speak to which of these players are the more highly valued.

    eddie41
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    June 9, 2023 4:46 pm
    Reply to  RobHessing

    Playing two SF’s is not a terrible option. Last year was a great year and that’s what they did.

    But in all fairness, HB is a SF. PJ Washington is probably a SF also (5.5 rebounds per 36).

    macdoogs
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    June 9, 2023 4:51 pm
    Reply to  eddie41

    PJ in theory could play some sf, mostly in a mix-match pairing with Keegan playing the 4, depending on match ups. He would be a solid addition to the team but doesn’t fix our most glaring needs next to Domas though. It’s too bad 3&D power forwards don’t grow on trees lol

    RobHessing
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    June 9, 2023 8:15 pm
    Reply to  eddie41

    Yet Washington had the better rebound percentage. /Shrugs

    eddie41
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    June 10, 2023 11:14 am
    Reply to  RobHessing

    are you sure? Maybe I’m looking at the wrong stat, but on basketballrefernce.com, Trey Lyles had a total rebound % last year of 13.7 and a defensive rebound % of 21.1 while PJ Washington had 8% and 13%. Lyles’ percentages were on par with his career averages, while PJ Washington was down from his career averages of 10% and 16%.

    Jack
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    June 10, 2023 1:21 pm
    Reply to  RobHessing

    Next to Reid( he is a plays better ate power forward than center) my next choice would be PJ Washington.

    macdoogs
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    June 9, 2023 4:46 pm
    Reply to  RobHessing

    Josh Hart might be my #1 target. Great defender, good all around offensive game, and seems like a good dude/teammate. Not sure what his market is but I’d be willing to bet he gets an overpay from NY. If the offers are reasonable I’d definitely put one in for him. Doesn’t truly help our biggest team needs but he is a + to have in my opinion.

    PJ Washington is another player that intrigues me. Definitely undersized but he does alot of things well that most teams could use. In a way reminds me of a smaller 2023 Trey Lyles.

    The Trey/Domas front court pairing could be a thing in theory. On paper they mesh well. I do prefer him more as the back up 5 though, due to him being able to stretch the D out a bit, pulling the opposing teams big men out of the paint. I think his role on our team is a real sweet spot for him and us as is. Would hate to lose him.

    Not sure what we do tbh but in Monte we trust

    eddie41
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    June 9, 2023 4:50 pm
    Reply to  macdoogs

    The only thing theoretical about Lyles is how he would play with more playing time. His fit with Sabonis and the rest of the team is already known.

    Hamlet1989
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    June 9, 2023 7:53 pm
    Reply to  macdoogs

    Lebron would fit in perfectly next to Domas, and we all agree Josh Hart would be a near ideal fit. When was the last time the Kings, or any other team, signed a FA away from the Knicks they were planning on keeping? Can we please stop talking about Josh Hart?

    Jack
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    June 9, 2023 3:06 pm
    Reply to  eddie41

    Quite a few.

    eddie41
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    June 9, 2023 3:16 pm
    Reply to  Jack

    Name them

    andy_sims
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    June 9, 2023 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the defensive numbers, the eye test suggested that Lyles was making a difference with his smarts and hustle, and there’s actual proof.

    There’s a reason that he was a lottery pick, and we’ve seen just how valuable he can be. I don’t think anyone will offer and eight-figure salary, but I’d offer as much as $25-27 million over three years if necessary. Sasha is a pipe dream, and injured to boot.

    ArcoThunder
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    June 9, 2023 4:10 pm

    I’ll say this on the Trey Lyles thread because it’s the Trey Lyles thread…

    if I were GM I think I would let Barnes go and give the starting PF spot to Trey Lyles. He’s a starting opportunity away from averaging 15 and 8 with better defense, perimeter and interior to Barnes.

    His B ball IQ is very high, he plays well with fox, he spreads the floor on offense and he knows the system along with having 82 games of proving himself as someone who has a lot more to give if the opportunity is given. He hustles!!! Always. He’s cash money from 3.

    losing Barnes is scary because he plays with such high IQ. Lyles plays with the same level of IQ (just less experience.)

    pay him the very affordable rate!!!!

    3 – 4 years (easy to get him for that long with a big pay raise). He’s also a tradable asset on that price tag over the entirety of the contract.

    he’s the game changer player on a team making deep runs in the playoffs for the price tag he is currently demanding.

    it’s simple. Trey Lyles is a must keep!

    Last edited 4 months ago by ArcoThunder
    TheGrantNapear
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    June 9, 2023 4:16 pm
    Reply to  ArcoThunder

    I’d take Trey over HB as well. More minutes for Trey should equate to solid numbers with effeciency being maintained.

    RobHessing
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    June 9, 2023 8:24 pm
    Reply to  TheGrantNapear

    I’m pumping the brakes on the notion that Lyles for Barnes improves the starting lineup. Lyles will never be as good as Barnes was last year, and Barnes will continue to be the better player this year.

    It’s not just about fit. It’s about talent. Lyles is a wonderful, versatile bench big. But if he’s starting for you, you better be (a) pretty fucking lights out at the other four starting positions, and (b) able to replicate his massive bench contributions with someone else.

    We miscast Jason Thompson for his entire career. Let’s not do it to Trey Lyles.

    Hamlet1989
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    June 9, 2023 8:52 pm
    Reply to  RobHessing

    Pretty much

    TheGrantNapear
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    June 10, 2023 11:14 am
    Reply to  RobHessing

    I agree HB is clearly a better player than Trey. However, Trey should cost a fraction of what HB will cost. I’m just saying if I had to choose between the two I would take Trey given contracts and age; but of course HB is the better player in a vacuum.

    ArcoThunder
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    June 11, 2023 4:22 am
    Reply to  TheGrantNapear

    I agree with this too. Same.

    I don’t want to lose HB but if it comes down to money then yeah, Trey is an excellent plug for the hole left.

    Adamsite
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    Nostradumbass 14
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    Nostradumbass 14
    June 9, 2023 5:18 pm

    If Barnes walks and the Kings can retain Lyles for less than $10M per year, it’s a win. That being said, the idea of re-signing both Barnes and Lyles while also brining over Sasha is redundant. Keep in mind, Barnes will likely come a bit cheaper, but Lyles will be more expensive, so any cap space savings will likely be none. Monte is going to need to pick a path with the three PFs.

    Hamlet1989
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    June 9, 2023 8:49 pm
    Reply to  Adamsite

    I would say 6’9″, 225 lbs. forwards with a high BB IQs, that shoot well from 3, is exactly the kind of redundancy most teams would love to have, so long as the contracts are reasonable. Vezenkov is a bit of a shot in the dark anyway. I’d be tempted to trade his rights, especially if he’s lukewarm about Sac, but for the right price… These guys all have at least some positional versatility, and injuries happen.
    I agree they likely need an upgrade at 4, especially defensively. Rob covered the list pretty well. Grant would be an ideal fit. I haven’t said much about because they want to keep him, but now with Lillard wanting out, he may be gettable. Not sure if it makes him more or less likely to leave Portland. I also like Wood, but I wouldn’t break the bank, because I don’t trust his motor. Hachimura counts as a double come-up (LA). And Kuzma’s talents fit very well also, even though I’d have to hold my nose.
    I’m less a fan of Thybulle, as a starter, and I like Reid better than Rob apparently does. I see his point that he’s primarily a center. Who guards the perimeter? But I think he would find minutes in Sac. At least he can shoot, unlike Thybulle. Reid may not start either, but I see him helping the defense more as a physical big. And he slays the Kings every time they play. That tells me he fills a hole here.
    The more I consider how to improve this team, the more apparent the difficulty becomes. Like a Rubik’s cube, you have to solve one side w/o compromising another. It’s easier to improve a shitty team, than a good one. MM has to walk a finer line, than in the past, finding improvement in one area w/o sacrificing another. They have to be better defensively, but not at the cost of shooting/spacing. That may be the most difficult conundrum. Getting guys at the right price is the key to making everything work.

    TheGrantNapear
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    June 10, 2023 11:16 am
    Reply to  Hamlet1989

    By not resigning HB, the Kings save money that can be put towards multiple players (Sasha, Thybulle, Naz). I’d rather use the money that would go to HB to sign two other rotational players.

    aplumley
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    June 11, 2023 9:13 pm
    Reply to  TheGrantNapear

    In the NBA a quarter is always worth more than five nickels. Losing a very good player and substituting with three average ones is not a path to success.

    AnybodyButBagley
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    June 9, 2023 6:07 pm

    Worth way more than the bag of dog crap that Bagley is worth. Great trade.

    Last edited 4 months ago by AnybodyButBagley

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