Predraft Workout: Jeremy Tyler
By caseyholdahl Posted in: 2011draft
Predraft workouts just aren't as important as they used to be. With rules changes regarding the number of players who can participate in a workout at one time, the increased focus on scouting during the collegiate season, the accessibility of game footage and the reluctance of some players to compete head-to-head prior to the draft, the stock that teams once put into what they see during workouts on their own practice courts isn't what it was even five years ago.
But there are a few players for whom predraft workouts are just as important as ever. Jeremy Tyler is one of those players. His skills are still relatively unknown thanks to the non-traditional route he took to the NBA by foregoing his senior season in high school to play professionally in Israel, only to end up playing last season in a league in Japan. NBA types don't spend much time scouting the Pacific Rim, and the relatively low interest in basketball in Japan makes it tough to come by game film, so when Tyler participates in predraft workouts, as he did on June 15 at the Trail Blazers' practice facility, his performance is more heavily scrutinized than his contemporaries who have spent at least a one season playing college ball in the States.
"(Workouts) are much more important for a guy like Jeremy than they are for a guy like Kyle (Singler) and Jon (Leuer)," said Chad Buchanan, Portland's acting general manager, "because very few teams got to see him an extensive amount this season. We see him a lot before he got to Japan, but he needs to come over here and prove that he can make plays, that he can defend, he can block shots against these guys we've seen a bunch of."
Tyler knows his workout performances carry more significance than the typical prospective draftee, so he approaches said workouts with the appropriate mindset.
"Every single time I step on the court, wherever I'm at, it's important," said Tyler. "It's not so much that i have a lot to prove; I have a lot to show. I have to show them that I can play, that I learned overseas. Three-on-three is a little hard to show, two-on-two is a little hard to show, but in the five-on-five setting I feel like I'm pretty advanced for where I am in my life and career right now. All that stuff will show eventually."
What he did show during his workout in Portland is that he possesses an NBA-ready body and the right mindset to play in the paint.
"Jeremy has some physical tools that are going to translate to our level," said Buchanan. "He's physical, he's athletic. He's not afraid to lean on guys. He's going to hit you. He can spin in the post pretty quick for a guy his size."
NBA decision-makers aren't the only people learning on the fly. Tyler, who averaged 9.9 points and 6.4 rebounds last season for Tokyo Apache, is also quick to point out that he's still a work in progress and he's excited for the opportunity to continue his maturation with a team like the Trail Blazers.
"I see myself trying to go to a team where there's a lot of veterans where i can learn, like Portland," said Tyler. "Portland's got a lot of players you can learn from. They're basically still growing. I'd be lying to you if I told you I knew everything and I was a prefect basketball player, but I'm not. I'm still learning every day. I mean, I learned something in this workout. I learn something in every single workout. I think that I could fit in pretty well as far as being a post player in the NBA."