When the NBA Draft Combine happened in Chicago last month, New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau appeared on the event’s broadcast on ESPN to speak about what the Knicks are looking to add to their roster. Thibodeau specifically noted “adding to our shooting and our offense,” emphasizing shooting from behind the 3-point arc and off-the-dribble as well.
With four picks in this year’s draft, New York has a good chance of getting players who can meet those needs. There is, however, still the possibility that the Knicks could trade their picks — they currently have the Nos. 19, 21, 32 and 58 picks.
If they hold on to either of those first-rounders, then guard Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland could be someone to consider, as he is projected to be selected in the latter half of the first round and worked out with the team last month.
Hyland’s scoring average of 19.5 points was a team-high at VCU this past season. He shot 44.7% from the field and 37.1% from behind the 3-point arc. In his 31.9 minutes per game, he also averaged 2.1 assists and 4.7 rebounds — a good number for someone at his position.
His performance during the 2020-21 season earned him the honor of Atlantic 10 Player of the Year.
Hyland’s sophomore year was an improvement upon his first season at VCU. He notably increased his scoring, general shooting and rebounding numbers while averaging more than 10 minutes more per game in his second season.
Size-wise, Hyland is suited better to play the point guard position. He was measured at 6-foot-2 without shoes and 6-foot-3.25 with shoes at the combine. If he plays at the two, then he’ll likely be undersized against others at that position.
Hyland is referred to as a “deft playmaker who can thread difficult passes through defenses” and “dangerous long-range shooter” on VCU’s official athletics site.
After working out for the Los Angeles Lakers, he did confirm his ability to play either guard role but also took the time to mention that he’s “just a hooper.”
“I can play either position,” Hyland said following his workout with the Lakers. “I can play off the ball. I can shoot the lights out off the ball. I can shoot the lights out on the ball. I’m a very underrated passer, underrated playmaker. It just shows you my versatility, and I can do either or both at a high level for sure.”
Cody Taylor of Rookie Wire said that, during the combine’s first scrimmage, Hyland “dazzled scouts and executives” with his game-high 17-point performance. In 23 minutes of play, the guard shot 7-of-11 from the field and 3-of-5 from long range and put up four assists and six rebounds. So Hyland has a solid all-around game.
While he is more so a scoring guard than a traditional point guard, BasketballNews.com noted that shot creation is one of the appeals of Hyland’s game:
He lacks the ability to play as a true point guard, but he’s a good playmaker who can create looks for both himself and others. If he cleans up his shot selection and defensive discipline, he projects nicely at the next level.
On the defensive end, Hyland proved he’s active, averaging 1.9 steals in his sophomore season. He also has a wingspan of 6-feet, 9.25-inches, which can help him be a more effective perimeter defender — especially against those who are bigger than him.
Hyland’s nickname, “Bones,” comes from his thin frame. At the combine, he weighed in at 169 pounds, so his size will be of concern in the league. He’ll have to add on weight in order to hold his own against bigger NBA players.
Hyland’s average of 2.1 assists this past season are telling of how he’s more of a scoring guard. But what’s really concerning is that he averaged more turnovers (3.1) than assists, so he’ll need to work on taking care of the ball.