Injuries are unfortunate in sports. They can derail a team’s entire season or a player’s entire career.
However, the flip side is that players from the bench get a chance to shine. Such has been the case this past month and a half for former Kentucky Wildcats forward Trey Lyles.
Lyles was traded by the Jazz to the Nuggets this past summer for Donovan Mitchell, which have led many to proclaim that it was a terrible trade for the Nuggets. That is based on Mitchell’s great rookie season so far, but fans should be careful to label the trade a bad deal for Denver.
The Nuggets made a huge move this summer signing Paul Millsap to the team. Millsap was getting the lion’s share of the minutes, which translated into five DNPs for Lyles along with nine games of getting less than 10 minutes of action in the first 16 games of the season.
Unfortunately for Millsap, he was injured in the team’s 16th game and has been out of the lineup ever since. The opportunity for Lyles presented itself and he has put together some great performances for a Nuggets team that has maintained a respectable position in the Western Conference.
During the month of December and so far into January, Lyles is putting up some great numbers coming off the bench. He is averaging 15.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, and shooting 54% from the field. Lyles three point shooting has been amazing during this stretch making 47% of his 89 attempts.
This stretch of basketball for Lyles is the best of his NBA career. A big with his shooting ability is coveted in today’s NBA and whether or not he continues to get minutes after Millsap’s return, he is becoming a big part of the Nuggets future.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.