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Syracuse’s Tyler Lydon, potential first-rounder, entering NBA draft

NCAA Syracuse North Carolina Final Four Basketball

Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon (20) shoots against North Carolina during the first half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AP

Syracuse coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins is leaving for Washington.

Also departing Syracuse: sophomore forward Tyler Lydon.

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports:

Lydon ranks somewhere between a potential and probable first-rounder.

A 6-foot-9 forward, Lydon projects most favorably as a stretch four. There, his smooth outside shooting and athleticism could be major assets.

But he’s so thin, there’s a risk he might have to play small forward, at least initially. His ball-handling skills and foot speed are too lacking for the wing, though.

The positive spin: Gaining strength, often necessary for young players, offers Lydon a clear path to improvement. Natural physical progression could help Lydon shore up a major concern: rebounding. Lydon has already shown quality timing (though not enough reliability) for blocking shots, so perhaps his other big-man skills will come around as he gets stronger.

Asking Lydon to create shots for himself or others is a recipe for failure. Planting him inside too much too soon will come with major downside.

But if Lydon, who turns 21 in a couple weeks, goes to a team that gives him a limited role that fits his strengths, he could be quite valuable in it. Three-point-shooting, shot-blocking big men are all the rage.