Tyson Could Be Late-First-Round Knockout For Pelicans

New Orleans’ offseason plans should include more offensive juice on the wing. Outside of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, all of the Pelicans’ wings are best served as complementary pieces. Cal’s Jaylon Tyson could help here, as the 6’7 wing is one of the draft’s premier shotmakers and scoring options.

Tyson took a scoring leap in his first season at Cal; the 21-year-old wing scored in a myriad of ways en route to 19.6 points a night on a solid 55.7% true shooting percentage. He harbored a massive offensive load (30% usage rate), carrying his team’s offense on a nightly basis. Tyson’s pull-up shotmaking is advanced, dancing into jumpers from three and in the mid-range with great footwork and space creation.

He projects as a strong shooter, hitting 36% of his 7.5 threes per 100 possessions while shooting 79.6% at the line. That volume, especially in the mid-range where Tyson shot 39.8% on huge volume (51-128), gives hope for strong on and off-ball shooting upside. In a more complementary role on the Pels, Tyson’s efficiency could rise with an easier shot diet.

Tyson pairs his shotmaking with strong, explosive driving, winning downhill with burst and power. He’ll sometimes drive himself into traffic and force poor shots but the flashes of advantage creation on the wing are enticing. 

In a smaller role, Tyson’s passing will hopefully become more consistent. The numbers are solid — 1.1 assist-to-turnover ratio, 23.5% assist rate — and the flashes of pick-and-roll playmaking pop off of the tape. Tall wings with Tyson’s ability to make plays at all levels of the floor are rare. Consistency and decision-making are his main improvement points, as Tyson often misses easy passing reads in favor of tough shots and struggles to play within the flow of the offense.

The same consistency and attention issues rear their heads on the defensive end. Tyson’s 2.0% steal rate and 1.5% block rate are pedestrian given his size and athleticism. He’ll lose focus, letting cutters slip behind him and failing to rotate off of the ball. There’s upside on defense if Tyson’s mental improves, as he flashes impressive on-ball defensive ability sliding with his quickness and strength to cut ballhandlers off.

For the Pelicans, Tyson would contribute offensively from day one, spacing the floor and handling the ball in a complementary role. That’s a valuable proposition, as Tyson could take some of the scoring pressure off of the Pels’ stars. Consistency must improve, but he’d be a worthwhile swing late in the first round to fit a big need. 

Analysis by Ben Pfeifer

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