The Knicks may have lost their Las Vegas Summer League opener to the Pelicans by a score of 77-72 on Friday, but there were plenty of positives to take away.
Knicks' first-round draft pick Tim Hardaway and company may have struggled in the continuity department, but a select few young guns, nevertheless, began to shine anyway.
One of those promising prospects happened to be big man Jeremy Tyler. An early second-round selection in 2011, the 22 year old's journey has already taken him to places like Israel, Tokyo, Golden State, Atlanta, and Santa Cruz. Now, he's in Las Vegas donning a Knicks uniform.
Tyler's career began with the decision to forgo his senior year of high school to play ball internationally. After spending a couple seasons abroad, the big man was drafted into the NBA, but has failed to truly stick thus far.
Having spent a little over a season with the Golden State Warriors, Tyler saw himself traded to the Hawks near the 2013 trading deadline. He was subsequently waived after playing in just one game.
Tyler finished the season off with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the D-League, helping them make a deep postseason run, all the way to the NBADL Finals.
After a year filled with plenty of respective, ups, downs, twists, and turns, Tyler recently told KnicksJournal.com he's just happy to continue playing basketball. He added, "It's exciting playing basketball and just being out there period. It's great to get into a flow, find a rhythm, and be in a rotation."
"My focus is to just get better. Every game is an opportunity to improve upon the game before last. I'll work on the things I need to," Tyler added.
The Knicks' front line has taken a bit of a hit so far this summer. Though they acquired Andrea Bargnani, New York has lost the likes of Chris Copeland, Marcus Camby, and Steve Novak. What's more, Amar'e Stoudemire's minutes per game are set to be capped, and Kenyon Martin has yet to be re-signed.
Needless to say, not only are there roster spots for the taking, but also perhaps specific big man voids to be filled as well. With some past experience already under his belt, and plenty of promise for what's to potentially come in the near future, Tyler would appear likely to emerge as a worthy candidate to earn such a spot.
At 6'10" and 260 pounds, Tyler is a physical player who uses his body to his advantage. He can fight and box out for rebounds on both ends of the floor. What's more, he can pester opponents defensively, and also assert himself offensively under the basket. The 22 year old's 10 point and 11 rebound effort in his Knicks debut merely began to prove that.
Addressing the types of things he stands to contribute to an NBA team, Tyler said, "I'm a pretty athletic big. I can play either the four or five position."
Continuing to suggest his strengths, he added. "Rebounding and running the floor. Knowing game plans and being a great teammate. I've been working on my offensive skills for scoring the ball a little bit. Being aware of defensive coverages and just playing solid are things I believe I can do for a team."
Tyler acknowledged that getting cut by the Hawks like he did and having to join the D-League ranks midway through the year was a bummer. Still, the young gun has one of the best attitudes NBA executives will find, which is perfect with regard to soaking everything in and getting the most out of Summer League competition.