Sacramento Kings Season In Review: Trey Lyles
Apr 14, 2022, 9:50 AM| Updated: 9:50 am
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
When the Sacramento Kings swung a trade for long-coveted guard Donte DiVincenzo, two players joined the former Milwaukee Bucks guard in the deal: forwards Josh Jackson and Trey Lyles.
Lyles, 26, is a name that you had probably heard of if you are an avid basketball fan.
You might have known Lyles from his college days at Kentucky, or maybe during his stint as a useful bench big with the Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, and San Antonio Spurs.
Before he was traded to Sacramento this season, the 6’9 forward had averaged a career-high 10.4 points per game over just 19.4 minutes per game for the Detroit Pistons.
Known as a floor-spacer for most of his career, Lyles was shooting a career-worst 30-percent from beyond the arc over 51 games with Detroit.
Upon his arrival in the 916, Lyles was used sparingly over his first three appearances, falling to log more than five minutes until then-interim head coach Alvin Gentry played the forward for almost 16 minutes during a loss to Denver on February 26th.
The narrative–if there even was one before–surrounding Lyles’ Kings tenure flipped on a dime beginning with February 28th’s game against Oklahoma City.
Not only did Lyles surprise all that were watching with a 24-point performance on 10-of-14 shooting, but he also did so as the opening act of an impressive 20-game stretch.
Lyles started the final 20 games of the season for Sacramento, and he made quite an impact as the team’s starting power forward:
12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 48% FG, 35% 3PT, 87% FT, 25.8 MIN
Truthfully, when you look at how unappealing the final stretch of the season was for the Kings, Lyles was one of the few bright spots for this team over the final weeks.
Will Trey Lyles Be Back In 2022-23?
The ‘Bring Trey Lyles Back’ hype train sure did seem to pick up steam in the months of March and April.
Sacramento’s general manager Monte McNair will have a choice this summer of whether or not to pick up the veteran forward’s $2.6 million contract for the 2022-23 season.
A player like Lyles is one that I feel would benefit a hopeful up-and-coming team like next season’s Kings. While I don’t think that Lyles’ fit will be as the team’s starting power forward, he could bring the second-unit a floor-spacing presence that is reminiscent of a Nemanja Bjelica-type of player.
While Bjelica is a better shooter than Lyles (36% career three-point percentage vs. Lyles 34%), the two players have similar skillsets.
It isn’t fair to ask Lyles to come in and be the player Bjelica was during his time in Sacramento, but having a floor-spacing 6’9 forward on the bench that can help an inexperienced team like the Kings, all for the price of $2.6 million?
You could do a lot worst than a player like Trey Lyles for $2.6 million.
Lyles’ fate as a King will probably come down to a matter of what McNair is planning on doing with this roster.
There are other decisions to be made with other fringe rotation pieces that could be returning or making their exits:
- Chimezie Metu has a non-guaranteed contract for 2022-23
- Damian Jones, who looked really good in a starting role, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer
- Neemias Queta was on a two-way contract last season. Would McNair want to give the big man a guaranteed roster spot in 2022-23?
- Will McNair draft a power forward with the team’s top-seven selection?
- Could a big trade mean that Lyles’ option will be declined?
Many questions remain surrounding Lyles’ status for 2022-23, but there is no doubt that the Kings would benefit from a standpoint of depth, veteran presence, bench rebounding and floor spacing by bringing back Lyles.
If Sacramento declines Lyles’ option, the 26-year-old may have played himself into a slightly larger payday if he hits the open market as an unrestricted free agent.