The Utah Jazz introduced former Kentucky forward Trey Lyles to their local media during a Friday news conference, and general manager Dennis Lindsey was quick to credit his first pick's time in Lexington as a reason for selecting him.
"We really enjoyed watching Kentucky this year," Lindsey said. "They were executing. They shared the ball. And Trey made a lot of sacrifices. I thought Coach (John) Calipari did a great job and a great service for all the Kentucky players to put the team in front of themselves. Sacrifice minutes. Sacrifice roles."
Lyles played small forward at UK, but that'll change with the Jazz. Not a problem.
"For me, growing up I was always the biggest guy on the team, so playing the four position is not going to be that hard for me," Lyles said. "It's probably my best position on the floor. Me going to Kentucky and having to play a new position, it kind of helped me out in my all-around game."
Jazz Coach Quin Snyder said that UK’s loaded roster and shared minutes prepared Lyles well for the NBA.
"When I saw him play on tape, and then here (during workouts), that resonated with me. A guy that not only is unselfish, but is capable of passing the ball and making plays for his teammates. I think that and his versatility will fit in well with what we're doing. He told me that he plays a little defense, too, so I was glad to hear that."
Although Utah missed the playoffs, it had the sixth-best winning percentage after the All-Star break. Playing time could be hard to find early. But Kentucky has prepared Lyles for that.
“I think it translates perfectly,” he said of being on a team with a lot of talent. “For me, it’s going to be an easy transition,” he said.