Among the New York Knicks’ training camp invitees is Jeremy Tyler, who has gone from highly sought-after recruit to relative afterthought in just a few years. Scouts saw a 6-foot-10 center with quick feet and overwhelming strength who was sure to be dominant for years to come. As a junior, Tyler was considered one of the top high school recruits in the nation and a future NBA star before making the shocking decision to move abroad and play for Maccabi Haifa in Israel. He quickly found himself off the team amid questions about his maturity and work ethic. Tyler would eventually land on the Tokyo Apache. He wasn’t exactly playing in a premier international league and, even there, he never quite dominated the competition. His draft stock fell quickly and he wound up being picked in the second round of the NBA draft.
He’s hardly played as a pro, though, and has seen more minutes in the NBA D-League than for any of the four NBA teams he’s been a part of to this point. Jeremy Tyler and the Knicks are hoping that he has finally found the right environment for him to develop and succeed at the pro level.
Knicks fans got their first glimpse of Tyler at this year’s Vegas Summer League. He has a reputation for having a questionable “motor” but he was clearly playing hard in the Knicks’ orange and blue. Tyler was brutally effective on the offensive glass, muscling defenders out of his way to create second chances for the Knicks’ offense. He posted two games with five offensive rebounds and one with three, all while playing just 17 minutes a night. His propensity for crashing the offensive glass combined with his improved mid-range jumper led to a strong performance from the field, as he cashed in on 56.3 percent of his shot attempts. With the Knicks’ array of three-point shooters, Tyler’s rebounding prowess could be very useful, although his manic effort on the offensive glass has sometimes led to him picking up dumb fouls.
There are some areas on offense where he’s not quite as effective. Despite his size and strength, he has not yet learned how to consistently use his body to seal his man and get deep post position. As a result, he often catches the ball too far from the hoop, forcing him to attempt a move beyond his skill set. When he attempts spins and other difficult maneuvers, he sometimes gets stuck under the rim or at an angle to the side of the hoop where it’s nearly impossible to get a good shot. However, when he’s close to the basket and able to use a simple move to get his shot off, he is pretty good at converting those scoring chances.
Defensively, he has a lot of work to do. While he’s not fast, he’s not immobile either and should be able to become far more effective at containing pick-and-rolls with practice. At present, this is a major weakness for him. He also doesn’t grab defensive rebounds with the same zeal that he has for offensive rebounding. The Knicks play a lot of small ball and if he’s on the floor, he’ll be counted on to clean up the defensive glass.
Jeremy Tyler isn’t yet ready to receive heavy minutes on an NBA team, especially not one with playoff aspirations, but he’s showing flashes of potential and the desire to improve. If the Knicks are able to keep him around, he could develop into a nice asset further down the road.