|DraftExpress: D-League in a nutshell RT @nbadleague: Zach Andrews, Tyren Johnson, Leo Lyons Moses Ehambe & Lawrence Hill are D-League AllStar replacements|
|Top 25s - Full List|
|Team: NON-NBA College Team:
H: 6' 10"|
W: 240 lbs
(26 Years Old)
|RSCI: 58||Agent: Keith Kreiter ||
High School: Coastal Christian Academy
Hometown: Kansas City, KS
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2009||Portsmouth||6' 9"||6' 9.75"||240||6' 10.75"||NA||NA||NA||NA|
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Portsmouth Invitational Tournament: All-First Team|
April 14, 2009
One of the more skilled and physically gifted players in attendance, Leo Lyons put his strengths and weaknesses on full display here in Portsmouth. Since we last wrote about him prior to the season, not much substantial has changed, though there are a few observations to be made. While Lyons measured in at a strong 6’9.75 in shoes, it’s tempered a bit by his 6’10.75 wingspan, which is just average for his size.
On the offensive end, Lyons is an incredibly versatile player, capable of scoring inside and out in a variety of ways. Taking the ball to the basket, Lyons can attack with either hand while mixing in occasionally advanced moves such as spins, crossovers, or behind-the-back dribbles. He’s not an incredibly quick or explosive athlete, but he’s very smooth and coordinated for his size, and possesses very long strides with a relatively controlled handle. The main problem with Lyons’ dribble-drive game is his at times questionable decision-making, as he’s prone to forcing the issue or playing outside his limitations.
In the lane, Lyons is capable of finishing with either hand and has the fluidity to adjust in mid-air, using reverses, pump fakes, and finishing through contact with regularity. Interestingly enough, Lyons actually ranks third in our entire database (behind Blake Griffin) in free throws attempted per 40 minutes pace adjusted, telling you just how tenacious he is attacking the rim. Lyons does a good job of cutting to the basket without the ball and leaking out in transition, while he also has a lot of ability as an offensive rebounder, though he doesn’t always make use of his abilities consistently there.
Lyons’ jump shot has been up and down over his four years at Missouri, as despite showing great form and shooting touch at times, he’s prone to bad misses due to a lack of discipline in shot selection along with some sloppy tendencies. When he gets his feet set and his shoulders squared, Lyons is a very accurate shooter out to 18 feet, even when he’s fading away and/or contested. Unfortunately, though, Lyons is prone to rushing his shot at times, pulling the string on his follow through, or drifting in different directions unnecessarily, leading to inconsistency in his effectiveness. With better discipline and more consistent mechanics, Lyons has the potential to become a deadly mid-range shooter, and maybe more, as he’s shown brief flashes of range out to the college three-point line.
On the defensive end, Lyons has had many well-documented issues prior to this season, and while he’s made some strides, many of them still remain. On the positive side, Lyons’ attentiveness and activity level as a perimeter defender is definitely improved this season, however he’s still inconsistent in doing some of the little things--giving up too much space to shooters, not putting in the effort laterally, and not staying in a fundamental stance. It is worth noting that during Missouri’s NCAA tournament run, however, most of these problems were hardly evident at all, as Lyons looked like a different player on the perimeter, playing excellent fundamental defense, moving his feet well, aggressively hedging pick-and-rolls, and really showing what he’s capable of. On the negative side, Lyons’ post defense and boxing out on the glass has not been impressive all season, as he shows little grasp of leverage, doesn’t fight hard for position, and just is not very effective defending in the painted area.
Despite his considerable talent, he only averaged 23 minutes per game at Missouri, partially due to foul problems (4.3 fouls per per-40), and partially due to the large rotation Mike Anderson likes to employ in their very up-tempo “40 minutes of hell” style pressure defense. This also had a lot to do with his average awareness and basketball IQ, as you never quite got the feeling that Lyons was always on page with his coaching staff—who weren’t the ones who brought him to Missouri.
Looking forward to the NBA draft, Lyons will most likely be in a lot of second round discussions, as despite his flaws, he will be one of the most naturally talented players on the board as draft night winds down. The caveat to this is that in spite of his talent, Lyons is still a good ways away from putting it all together, as he has a lot of adjustments to make to his game in order to maximize his abilities and become a consistent all-around player. Still, that is what the NBA draft is all about after all.
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Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Day Three
April 11, 2009
Leo Lyons has showed off his intriguing skill set for the second straight game here, showing a very interesting package for a power forward, specifically with his dribble-drive game. Lyons is capable of driving in either direction while combining his very good athleticism with some nifty advanced ball-handling as well. While he looks out of control at times and doesn’t show seem to have the greatest idea of where he’s going with the ball, his ability to make subtle changes of direction, occasional behind-the-back moves, and creativity at the rim usually make up for it at this level. In addition to finishing on creative finesse moves at the rim, Lyons has also gotten to the line both in transition situations and halfcourt sets, showing no problem taking contact and even finishing through it at times.
Lyons’ perimeter game has been a bit of a mixed bag, as he looks great hitting mid-range jumpers both spotting up and turning around, but will unnecessarily make his shots more difficult than they need to be, occasionally fading away for no reason. Lyons has also tried to show some added range here, attempting 5 three-pointers, though he’s only hit 1 thus far. While inconsistent, Lyons also shows some intriguing court vision along with the ability to make passes on the move, though this aspect of his game is still developing.
On the defensive end, Lyons has always been known to have some issues, and it has been apparent at times here that his lack of fundamentals and awareness hold him back. He shows occasional flashes of mobility and clearly has potential in this area, as seen on one pick-and-roll switch where he stuck with the opposing guard down the lane to make the block, but consistently applying his tools to this end of the floor and developing his fundamentals and awareness will be critical if he ever wants to be respectable—a big key for his NBA potential. One NBA scout we spoke with mentioned that he would not be surprised if Lyons ended up being drafted in the second round.
[Read Full Article]
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12 (Part Three: #11-15)
September 8, 2008
After testing the waters for the 2008 NBA Draft, Lyons received some feedback from NBA scouts and realized very quickly that he would be much better suited returning to college for his senior season. It has been known since his sophomore season that we were looking at an incredibly productive scorer based upon the minutes he played, but he will need to show improvement in the other facets of his game throughout his final year at Mizzou if he hopes to give himself the possibility of being drafted in June.
As we’ve written, there’s very little not to like about Lyons physically and athletically. He fits the mold of today’s face the basket power forward, long and lean, blessed with nice coordination and explosiveness. Moving around the court with great fluidity, you often forget that you are looking at a player standing 6’9.
The bread and butter of Lyons’ game has continued to be his ability to put points on the board in a number of ways. His go-to move would have to be his mid-range jumper, which he is perfectly hitting from a static position or off of the dribble going either way. The first step that he possesses is downright outstanding and enabled him to beat the vast majority of power forwards that he was pegged against off of the dribble. Leo showed off creative ball handling skills from time to time and was outstanding slashing to the rim late in the season for a post player. The senior showed off some pretty nifty passing skills when unable to score for himself, as well.
Defensively, Lyons is a bit of a nightmare, showing very little in terms of man-to-man defense or defensive rebounding ability. He lacks fundamentals on the defensive end, struggles rotating, and gambles for just about any block/steal possible. Lyons also tends to forget to box out quite often, wasting away the superior physical tools he has by letting smaller players corral rebounds. Scouts are certainly going to take a hard look at Lyons improvement on this end of the floor throughout the next 9 months.
Consistency issues have also plagued Leo in the past. On one night, you will feel that you are looking at a “can’t miss” NBA player. Then on the next night, you will walk away feeling like you just saw a talented player who doesn’t really “get it”. Whether or not Lyons is able to grasp how good he can potentially become and play like it will likely decide how far he makes it as a player. Either way, he’s a guy who will still probably get an opportunity to show his stuff to NBA brass at Portsmouth and the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp if he chooses to do so.
[Read Full Article]
NCAA Weekly Performers, 3/4/08-- Part One
March 5, 2008
Leo Lyons surprised many by earning consideration from DraftExpress as one of the more intriguing draft prospects in the Big 12 following his sophomore season, despite having played less than 18 minutes per game. And while he’s only up to about 21 minutes as a junior, he’s dropped enough glimpses of potential already to show why we decided to highlight him this past offseason. In spite of all that, he remains one of the more enigmatic players you’ll find in college basketball, an odd prospect who could still go in many different directions as far as his future development is concerned.
Statistically, Lyons is much improved compared with the last time we looked at him. On a per-40 minute basis he ranks as the 8th best scoring power forward in our database (at nearly 24.4 points), while his terrific 61% field goal percentage ranks him 11th in that category. Considering the fact that he’s not really much of a post player, and spends a considerable amount of time offensively on the perimeter, that’s pretty impressive.
Offensively, Lyons remains the same extremely smooth and fluid power forward, blessed with excellent athleticism and highly intriguing versatility. He likes to play mostly facing the basket, where he does a nice job operating as a mismatch threat attacking his man off the dribble and drawing a good amount of fouls. Naturally right-handed, he can operate comfortably with his left-hand too, and finish with either around the basket. He can pull-up off the dribble by creating separation sharply from his defender with picture perfect mechanics—looking more like a wing player than a power forward—and has a very soft touch on his jumper from 17-18 feet. He has excellent hands and is also a very creative passer, ranking 11th amongst all power forwards in our database in assists per-40 minutes. His instincts offensively are clearly outstanding, and really leave you wondering at times just how good he could be if the light-bulb ever truly came on for him.
That helps begin to explain why Lyons is such an enigma at this point—truly one of the more baffling players you’ll find in the NCAA. He doesn’t seem to really know what his limitations are, settling too often for fade-away jumpers out of the context of the offense, and looking out of control in the process. He lacks any real back to the basket game—his footwork is poor, and he’s neither strong nor tough enough to compensate for that with his physical tools, and he overwhelmingly prefers to go to his left when handling the ball.
Defensively, Lyons can’t be considered anything short of awful, which helps explain why he’s only averaging 21 minutes per game despite clearly being Missouri’s best offensive player. He doesn’t seem to have much fight in him, doing a poor job boxing out opponents for rebounds and often being conspicuously absent when there is any type of scrum for a loose ball underneath the basket, instead leaking out early trying to cherry-pick in transition. Even when he does try to play good defense, he seems to lack any real awareness on this end, losing his man on in-bounds plays, hedging screens poorly, not rotating defensively, and getting into foul trouble. As a rebounder, he’s average at best as well, mostly due to his lack of strength and activity level.
All indications are that Lyons will put his name in this year’s draft, without hiring an agent, something that would not be a real shock considering that he’s a junior and is entitled to test the waters once to get feedback from the NBA and see what he needs to improve on. He will be an interesting player to follow (probably good enough to garner an invite to the NBA pre-draft camp), but at the end of the day, would almost certainly be best served returning for his senior year. As talented as he is offensively, he isn’t quite good enough to get away with his inability to defend or rebound at his position, and playing for an underachieving Missouri squad (saddled by injuries and off-court issues) he’s still largely an unknown to most NBA scouts. If he puts the work in this summer, and shows a willingness to do what his coaches ask of him (his attitude is somewhat questionable apparently, which could really damage his stock), he’s talented enough to have a terrific senior season and really establish himself as a very intriguing player in the Big 12.
[Read Full Article]
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12 (Part Two: #6-#10)
October 10, 2007
More likely than any player ranked highly on our “top prospects” series to draw a blank stare would sure be Missouri big man Leo Lyons. Having played less than 18 minutes per game on a team that did not even make the NIT last season, that’s really not a surprise. But once you sift through his stats (extrapolated per 40 minutes), and more importantly watch the possessions he played on video (thanks to the invaluable Synergy Sports Technology) you begin to realize that we might potentially have an extremely interesting prospect on our hands.
Lyons is, first and foremost, an extremely gifted physical specimen. Standing 6-9, with a nice frame, an outstanding wingspan, and excellent athletic ability, he reminds on first glance of players like Tyrus Thomas or Wilson Chandler. He moves a little bit like them too, showing the type of fluidity you typically don’t find in a player that size-- looking effortless in his movements with great quickness and excellent explosiveness around the basket.
Examining his skill level, he seems to be in a pretty unique class as well, appearing extremely comfortable facing the basket and being capable of creating his own shot with surprising ease. Lyons has beautiful shooting mechanics, either from standstill positions, coming off screens or pulling up off the dribble, particularly moving left. He elevates off the floor and creates separation the way you’d expect a wing player to, looking very smooth and fluid in the process. The fact of the matter is, there just aren’t that many athletic 6-9 players you can say that about. Lyons can also put the ball on the floor fairly well with a lightning quick first step, especially when allowed to go his stronger hand—his left. He can handle the ball in the open floor, but still can’t be considered a polished ball-handler at this point in time, especially since he struggles when forced to switch hands and dribble with his right.
Lyons can do a little bit of damage in the post, mostly by facing up and using his quickness to blow by his man. Here his nice touch and excellent leaping ability come in very handy around the hoop—although he’s never a sure thing to finish in traffic because of his narrow frame. Lyons is not a threat to do much with his back to the basket, as he doesn’t have great footwork and regardless isn’t going to be backing anyone down considering his lack of girth. A smart defender who forces him to finish with his right hand will quickly find himself rewarded for doing so.
Considering his obvious talent, you still have to wonder why Lyons didn’t play more minutes as a sophomore. The main reason would be because he simply struggled to stay on the floor. Lyons averaged 6.1 fouls per-40 minutes, which obviously wasn’t going to get him very far. He played heavy minutes at center last year on this very undersized Missouri team, and often got outmuscled matching up in the post. To compensate, he fronted his man quite a bit, used his hands excessively, and was forced to gamble for blocks and steals once he was already beat in the paint. He does have the length and quickness to be a fairly disruptive presence, as his 2.5 steals per 40 minutes (ranking him 2nd in the country amongst power forwards) would indicate, but as of right now, he was often overmatched playing out of position. Getting stronger (he’s reportedly bulked up from 225 to 240 pounds this offseason), tougher, and improving his defensive fundamentals will help him out greatly in this area.
Lyons has a natural development process he must go through as well, as he’s still a raw player in many facets who gets by largely on his talent and athleticism. He’s a bit wild, not very polished, and clearly lacks some toughness and maturity at this stage. Still, his coaching staff at Missouri speaks very highly of him, and they will clearly be expecting a lot from him this season, especially now that starting center and leading rebounder Kalen Grimes has been dismissed for off the court issues. It will be very interesting to see if he can translate his tremendous potential into significant production. If he does, ranking him this high despite his paltry credentials won’t look nearly as ridiculous down the road.
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