This year’s collection of NBA Draft hopefuls features a slew of big names with lottery aspirations, along with players like the Syracuse Orange’s Tyus Battle. Battle, like numerous others outside the lottery range, is vying for some coveted spots at the back half of the first round. And to do that, he’ll need to earn the attention of front offices at the NBA Draft combine.
For Battle, committed to the combine and nothing more without an agent, this is the moment where he could secure the coveted promise of a first-round pick and guaranteed money for at least two seasons.
The event takes place at Quest Multisport in Chicago this Thursday and Friday from 3-7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. A total of 69 players will attend, according to the NBA, including college stars already locked-in as lottery selections.
Part of the process includes body measurements. For guards, the league collects standing reach, height without shoes, wingspan, standing vertical leap, max vertical leap, the shuttle run, lane agility, three quarter sprint, NBA break left and right shooting percentage, NBA corner left and right shooting percentage, top key shooting percentage and on-the-move fifteen-footer shooting percentage.
Hand measurements, bench press and medical tests factor into the spectacle as well. Battle will interview with individual teams that are allowed to conduct 18 each, participate in five-on-five scrimmages and attempt to separate himself from a massive field of over 110 early-entry guards between college and international ranks.
In an ever-expanding talent pool, four American players who never played college basketball will participate in the combine; Brian Bowen, Billy Preston, Mitchell Robinson and Anferenee Simons.
Entering college, Battle measured 6’7” in shoes, with a 6’8” wingspan. He’s likely above his 204-pound frame when last officially weighed in.
“Most NBA coaches do not get the opportunity to watch college players during the NBA season (due to the 82-game schedule),” New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said in 2016. “So the combine is usually the first time they can watch them play in person.”
That notion showed in Battle’s wild ride through draft boards during his sophomore season. Absent from the hype of the NCAA Tournament his freshman year, he only appeared in mocks into the later portions of 2017-18. Once the Orange tore into the Sweet 16, his name appeared in more places before ESPN placed him the first round in April.
Another expectation for Battle will be watching his elite peers drop out of the action. Last year Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball, Jonathan Isaac, Dennis Smith Jr., Malik Monk, Frank Ntilikina and Lauri Markkanen all skipped the combine. Markelle Fultz, De’Aaron Fox and Zach Collins decided to show up, but didn’t play five-on-five.
For the draft locks, this process will only hinder their hopes of landing in the top 14. For Battle, it will make or break his NBA dreams at 21 years old since many of the squads picking late in the first round will be eyeing his shot, athletic bursts and body measurements for the first time.
The more players that drop, the more time teams will spend watching him. Battle has until May 30 to decide to stay at Syracuse or dive all the way into the June 21 NBA Draft. Closer to then, teams will conduct their own workouts and interviews.
Until that time comes, prepare to watch Battle jump, run and stand awkwardly around rulers and other measuring devices later this week.