Trey Lyles joined the Nuggets in a draft day trade last offseason, and was a surprising rotation member while having the best season of his career.
Coach Michael Malone brought up Lyles playing more at small forward in his own interview, which Lyles did play at Kentucky. When asked about it, Lyles said, “Playing a face-up 4 is kind of like playing the 3 anyway.” He also said whether it was the 3, the 4 or the 5, he’s game for using that route for more minutes.
To that effect, Lyles spent a lot of time working out with specific trainers on a range of issues, which let him get, “...Stronger, quicker, my lateral quickness is a lot better.” The fact that every player says they come into the season in the best shape of their lives is a bit of a pre-season joke in every sport, but as our own Brendan Vogt said:
One more thing on Lyles--he gave the best shape of his life cliche, but he actually might be. He really does look great. More muscle, more definition. He mentioned that it's already given him more confidence in his game.— Brendan Vogt (@Bvogt422) September 24, 2018
It’s hard to get stronger to handle bigger power forwards and centers while also getting quicker to defend the perimeter and smaller wings, but if Lyles wants an abundance of minutes it may have to work that way for him. The Nuggets cleared out a lot of excess blockage on the roster but power forward remains cramped. Paul Millsap might slide down to the center position some and take a few minutes from Mason Plumlee if Denver’s power forwards wrest more minutes away, but increasing his own repertoire can only help Lyles as he enters this contract year.