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Tyus Battle rising into first round in latest NBA mock drafts

If this holds true, it would seem likely he’s headed to the pros.

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Practice


Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

With all of the noise around the NFL Draft this week, you’d be forgiven for not seeing much on the NBA Draft, which comes in June.

However, recent mock draft updates have been released, and Syracuse Orange guard Tyus Battle appears to be rising in most of them.

The Athletic has him as a first-rounder, going to the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 24. Sam Vecenie had this to say about the potential pick:

“Portland has a tough offseason ahead of it. But one position they absolutely have to address is the wing, where the team really just doesn’t have enough talent. Battle would fit well as a shot-maker with size who could play next to both C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard in a variety of lineups. There’s some question about Battle’s passing ability and defense, but he was solid in both of these respects in a different scenario in high school. It’s possible his upside there is a bit better than expected.”

That “question about defense” is based on little more than prevailing lazy narratives about the 2-3 zone, but no matter. Battle still gets first round love here, even if the zone gets slandered (quietly) once again.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Michigan State Spartans vs Syracuse Orange Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In ESPN’s most recent projections, he goes 29th to the Brooklyn Nets. Jonathan Givony was the first mock to boost Battle into the first, putting him there before he even declared.

CBS Sports has also come around to Battle as a first-rounder, assigning him to the Atlanta Hawks at 30th overall. They explain:

“A long and athletic wing, Battle played more minutes than any other player in college basketball last season. His efficiency suffered because of it, but that should not take away the fact he averaged nearly 20 points for a team that made the NCAA Tournament. His 32 percent 3-point shooting should be offset by his 84 percent free-throw shooting.”

Elsewhere, Battle has projections to go 32nd to the Memphis Grizzlies (Basketball Insiders) and 47th to the Los Angeles Lakers (Sports Illustrated).

One would have to think that if the first round projections keep coming, Battle likely elects to sign with an agent and go pro. He may want/need a first round guarantee, of course. But if he’s starting to be seen as a talent around the top 20/25 range, that should probably come soon enough. We’ll see if he waits until after the NBA scouting combine to do that, or just elects to commit to the jump once chatter has him more locked-in as a first.