Opportunity can arrive quickly and in unexpected forms in professional sports. In the span of a few minutes, a player can go from benchwarmer to key rotation cog. That’s what happened to Trey Lyles on Nov. 19 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Starting power forward Paul Millsap went down with a left wrist injury, which would eventually require surgery. Suddenly, a player who’d logged double-digit minutes in a Nuggets uniform just once until that point was asked to step up.
Lyles helped keep Denver afloat in Millsap’s absence. In the 44 games Millsap missed, Lyles averaged 13.0 points on 49.8 percent shooting, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists. After two rocky seasons in Utah, he developed into a dangerous weapon off the bench for Denver with his versatile offensive skill set.