Steinmetz: Tyler a difference- maker in Warriors' draft

Steinmetz: Tyler a difference- maker in Warriors' draft
June 24, 2011, 7:43 pm
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JUNE 24, 2011

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Matt Steinmetz
CSNBayArea.com

Even Warriors executive vice president Larry Riley said the drafting of Klay Thompson on Thursday night was "no surprise." Fact is, Thompson had been linked to the Warriors for some time and that's who they ended up getting.Why then does there seem to be so much positivity surrounding the Warriors' draft night? The answer is simple: Jeremy Tyler.There are two reasons for that. First, at the very least, Tyler represents a young, big body with the potential of turning into a starting power forward or center someday. And No. 2, the mere fact that owner Joe Lacob and his investment group were willing to shell out 2 million to buy Tyler's rights is an indication that it's no longer business as usual at 1011 Broadway.Tyler, of course, is an enigma, a player who skipped his senior year of high school in San Diego to play professionally in Israel. That didn't work out so well and he left the team for personal reasons after just 10 games. Tyler then joined the Tokyo Apache in the Basketball Japan League for the 2010-11 season.
It might seem like Tyler's already been around the block a time or two, but then you realize the kid turned just 20 years old three days ago. Naturally, that's why Riley is preaching patience.NEWS: Warriors to hire Myers as assistant coach
"What I want to see happen with this guy is to put some real muscle on him," Riley said. "And have Mark Jackson and his staff spend time with him. We're not going to rush him; we're going to give him plenty of time to develop and give him an opportunity to become a good NBA player. That's going to require some focus. He's young. There is some immaturity. I'm not going to duck that issue. But he seems to be committed, seems to be ready to go to work and we're anxious to go to work with him."New coach Mark Jackson, however, views Tyler a little bit differently."I don't have time to draft somebody (and wait) for a couple of years," Jackson said. "He's a big kid who is an athlete, that can block shots, finish and rebound the basketball. He's going to have every opportunity to do it now. Who's to say we didn't get better today?"Jackson made it clear he will take a personal interest in Tyler, and then some."I see an opportunity to coach a young man and to spend time with him," Jackson said. "And I just don't look at my job as making him a better basketball player. I look at my job and part of my call is that I want him to be a better basketball player and a better person, too. I'm excited about what lies ahead for this young man. He couldn't have fallen into a better situation."I want to not be just a coach to this young man, I want to be a mentor, I want to be a father figure, somebody he understands he can trust and can grow with. I want to give him every opportunity to succeed."