Anytime a superstar like Carmelo Anthony breaks his team's scoring record with 62 points, that's bound to be the headlining story of a night, especially in the heart of New York City.
There's no doubt Anthony's historic night was one for the ages. He roared. He soared. But for for what it's worth, so did his Knicks' teammate Jeremy Tyler. Quite literally, in fact. Just take a look for yourself:
Of course, the BayHawk-turned-Knickerbocker's own night wasn't highlighted by 62 points, but it was still an impressive one at that. With New York missing players like Amar'e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, and Kenyon Martin, Tyler rose to the challenge and came up in the clutch. He scored 8 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and swatted away two blocks in 22 quality minutes for the Knicks off the bench. What's more, clearly having a positive impact on the game, Tyler's plus/minus was a +9 in New York's 125-96 win over the Bobcats on Friday night.
His stat-line may not have been as flashy as his high-flying acrobatic dunks were, but they were still respectfully solid. On a night where Anthony emerged as one to provide the Big Apple fans with plenty of excitement for one evening, NBA D-League alumni Tyler provided them with a bit of his own as well.
NBA D-League players are used to going under the radar and waiting patiently for their time to shine. An alumni of the minor league himself, Tyler got to do it alongside one of The Association's greatest headlining acts in Anthony.
As he demonstrated in NBA Summer League last July, Tyler is truly a big man's big man. His imposing physicality is something the Knicks have desperately lacked behind Tyson Chandler on their frontline in recent seasons. Finally with an opportunity to strut his stuff and let loose, the young gun proved to be everything his team is in need of at the position, and more.
What's interesting is the fact that Tyler will likely prove to be most valuable to the Knicks by serving as a physical rebounder and pestering defender. That'll likely be his NBA bread and butter, especially while donning an orange and blue uniform. Still, his increasingly polished offensive game is one to keep an eye on as well.
Skillful big men are always difficult to come by in the NBA, but by also learning how to assert himself on the offensive end in different ways (whether that be by converting on a jump shot, a put-back down or even by thriving in the pick & roll), Tyler is beginning to show signs that he does indeed have plenty of staying power when it comes to cementing his spot on an NBA roster after all.