I know a lot of people who have seen the moments in his last 2 games and thought "and Naptown said he wasn't any good" or thought at least of the general crowd that discounted his chances. I've been very vocal about his chances as an NBA player.
But for those that thought it's some random hate thing (or more foolishly the few that thought it was a pro-Duke anti-NC thing), I'm here to say that I've always rooted for Tyler once he became a Pacer and I'm certainly going to acknowledge when he makes great plays.
There's my evaluation based on NCAA and NBA output. That's not the same as my personal hopes for a player, nor is it an evaluation of the person.
Tyler in the 4th last night showed us one of the things I complained about, attacking the post he got doubled and then got his shot just stuffed 1 foot off the floor. It was pathetic and very non-NBA. The point being that the things I worried about were and remain real.
But what Tyler has done these last 2 games has almost reinvented himself. Sure he's still a full on rampaging bull who's motor doesn't quit, but Tyler as a PF doing the quick step around to get in front of a pass for the steal? That's new.
Tyler got a tough board at one point and tried to go back up. He got shut down. But then new Tyler looked at Josh in the wings and gave it up for Josh to do what he specializes in which is to get high in traffic for the score (or foul).
Tyler also showed me some strong IN TRAFFIC HOPS himself, the break dunk was contested and he threw it down. As they were winding down the final possessions Tyler went up in traffic for a power rebound.
Those types of things are rather new and it reminds me for Hibbert who I scouted as too laterally slow for the NBA. For Roy that was very true the first 2 seasons, a bit less so now. But what Roy did was find a way to impact the NBA despite that limitation, and that's what I see Tyler starting to do now.
His bully around the rim slop offense is showing up less and is replaced with a lot of good use of lateral moment on both ends of the court. He's looking more like a guy that's found a niche within this group of players and less like a guy that was still trying to get by with stuff that worked at the NCAA level.
I've never denied that he had some things that could work, but I didn't see it adding up to enough and I didn't think he or the team was using him that way last year. Let's remember that he earned his low FG% last year.
The last 2 games he's been used perfectly and has applied himself to his role perfectly.
And for every one of his highlight moments I stood and cheered, probably louder than anyone. I respect game and he showed it big time last night (along with a lot of other Pacers). He's showed me hops I didn't think he had and game I didn't think he'd find. The results are a wonderful sugar coating for the crow he starting to make me eat.
I really hope he continues to do so.