During Yahoo’s live streaming coverage of the NBA Draft, former Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean offered an opinion about former Syracuse player Tyler Lydon that was not exactly what you would call complimentary. Not one to let criticism go without comment, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim called Crean an idiot.
“He’s an idiot,” Boeheim said, according to Syracuse.com. “He said he’s not a good shooter. Freshman, sophomore year he shoots 40 percent from 3. That’s pretty good for a young player. I think he had the best shooting statistics at the combine, I think, of all the big guys. He shoots it. That’s what he does. It just shows the ignorance and not doing the work, the research, the background check.”
Crean will not be the first draft analysts to be criticized for supposedly not doing enough research, nor will he be the last. We just like when Boeheim comes to the defense of one of his guys and Tom Crean just happens to be caught in the middle.
“The whole strength is supposed to be the shooting, things like… I think he plays hard, I think he tries hard, I don’t think he’s soft,” Crean said in his breakdown of Lydon during the live draft coverage. “But I don’t think the shot is there. I don’t think the mobility. Guys like him, who are they going to guard? And who are they going to separate from?”
But Boeheim didn’t just stop at blasting a former basketball coach now doing TV work. He also took the opportunity to brag about his own merits by saying that playing at Syracuse helps a player’s draft outlook when they turn pro.
“You go from being the 77th rated player out of high school and you’re a Top 25 pick in the NBA Draft? That’s a tribute to his work ethic and our program helping him,” Boeheim said of Lydon, who was selected with the 24th overall pick by the Utah Jazz.
“People always say, ‘Well, they don’t know if Syracuse players can play defense.’ Here’s a guy who was No. 77 and he’s No. 24 in the Draft. Obviously, the program helps players. It helped Tyler Ennis. It helped Michael Carter-Williams. It helped Malachi (Richardson). All those guys went way higher than people thought they were coming out of high school. Obviously, the program helped get them there.”
It hasn’t helped Syracuse win in the ACC Tournament, but players get a chance to go higher than expected in the NBA Draft. It may be worth recognizing how those players have done in the NBA so far. Ennis was drafted 18th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft and will begin the upcoming NBA season with his fourth NBA team (Lakers). Michael Carter-Williams was taken 11th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Sixers and won NBA Rookie of the Year and is now on his third team (Bulls). Malachai Richardson was taken 22nd overall in 2016 and has spent multiple stints with the Sacramento Kings’ development league team, the Reno Bighorns.
We’ll see if Lydon follows that trend or gives Boeheim one more reason to pump up the job he’s done at Syracuse because it’s always all about Boeheim.