Tyus Battle is already well into the swing of things at the NBA Draft combine, where on day one, the Syracuse Orange guard had a mixed bag of results (according to Syracuse.com). He’s at 6-foot-7 in sneakers, with a 6-foot-9 wing span, according to official measurements. And the (would-be) rising junior has just four-percent body fat, which is one of the top figures at the event. His long-range jumper was apparently looking good in drills, though in the 5-on-5 scrimmage, he was just 1-of-5 from the floor.
Understandably, scouts and front offices likely consume Battle’s attention more than the dozens of mock drafts that hit the internet like brackets on selection Sunday immediately following Wednesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, but they will always draw eyeballs. In a sample of nine of the major sports publication’s predictions 36 days prior to the the big day at Barclays Center, Battle is slated as a first round pick in only two.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, one of the first analysts to boost Battle into the first, dropped him to 32nd overall in his updated version. The Memphis Grizzlies select there. They’re a rebuilding team that will also select in the top five, works back star guard Mike Conley from major injury and has a significant contributor (Tyreke Evans) hitting the free agent market this summer.
Givony previously had the Nets taking Battle at 29th. The difference between those three spots is two million bucks in guaranteed cash.
The Athletic, also on the edge of including Battle with Sam Vecenie projecting both second and first round appearances in past inferences, excluded Battle in Michael Scotto’s Wednesday edition.
Gary Parrish at CBS Sports also looked the other way, highlighting the immense depth at guard that could stand in his way by placing Miami’s Bruce Brown, everybody’s good friend Grayson Allen, Wichita State’s Landry Shamet, USC’s De’Anthony Melton and SMU’s Shake Milton in front of him to close the first round.
One of the most highly-touted and accurate draft connoisseurs, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, who once frowned on Malachi Richardson in the first also steered clear of Battle in that range. Though his three-point shot, touch, free throw splits, physical makeup and playmaking appealed to O’Connor, the downsides of picking up his dribble, rebounding, craftiness on the drive and other factors that predictably included a zone comment weighed him down.
Adding to the Richardson parallels, despite their years of departure from the Orange differing, O’Connor sent Battle to the Kings at 36. Check the player comparison box and you’ll find none other than Dion Waiters.
Sporting News chose four separate guards from CBS, along with Milton, in its final six selections of the first while foregoing Battle.
Jeremy Woo at Sports Illustrated kicked him back to 42, which is the Pistons’ pick. Detroit may need help at the two position more than any other NBA team, with Langston Galloway, Ish Smith, James Ennis and Luke Kennard the only present help capable of chipping in there.
The grim forecast turned back into paid territory, in more ways than one, with USA Today sending Battle to the Warriors at 28th overall. He’d be joining a couple of players named Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the back court, arguably the two greatest shooters in NBA history.
Battle may not find a minute on the court there, but a championship ring could fall in his lap in his rookie season, and Golden State touts a solid G-League organization in Santa Cruz. Perhaps Battle and Darius Bazley will share a court after all in 2018-19.
Bleacher Report kicked Battle out of Golden State, in favor of Allen.
Rob Dauster and Kurt Helin rejoined Battle and the Nets at 29.
“I think Tyus Battle is a guy from Syracuse that’s being a little undervalued,” Dauster said. “I’m higher on him than a lot of people are because I think his numbers skewed what he was going to be able to do.”
He pointed back to Battle’s initial commitment to Michigan, when Battle’s combo guard prowess and rumored succession of Nik Stauskas caught his ear.
That uncertainty still plagues him, regarding his role in Syracuse and how increased talent around him along with the transition to man defense could raise or lower his ceiling.
The NBA Combine wraps up Friday, when we’ll have a more definitive vision of what teams view his worth as and soon after that his final decision. The mocks prioritize the lottery, so for a late-first, early-second player such as Battle and over a dozen others this year, that line becomes incredibly difficult to draw without knowing those team’s intentions.