With the NBA Draft coming up on Thursday, it’s time to start wondering exactly where Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett will land after the dust settles. Neither of them are featured in the first or second round of any major mock drafts so it looks like they’ll both have to go the undrafted free agent route if they want to carve out a career in the NBA.
It’s certainly not impossible to go from undrafted to role player in the Association (Wesley Johnson and Jeremy Lin have both done it in recent memory), but the journey will almost certainly be a difficult one if Battle and Brissett want to realize their dreams. If they do find that success, however, what will they look like as NBA players? Whose game can they resemble with their current skillset and whose will it look like if they make a couple of improvements.
Current: Justise Winslow
Brissett’s best skill at the moment is probably his athleticism and bounce coupled with a long, rangy body that can move quickly and guard multiple positions at the next level. He shows explosive amounts of athleticism and can jump out of the gym (standing vertical leap of 34 inches was the best among forwards at the NBA Combine). He’s also show the ability to knock down open mid-range jumpers at a good clip. That all sounds very similar to what former lottery pick Winslow has done in his four years with the Heat. Neither guy has shown consistency from beyond the arc (although that could be changing for Oshae), but they both rebound well and are solid defenders. Winslow is a worse free throw shooter than Oshae (although Brissett’s numbers went down considerably this year) but is probably a better finisher around the rim. Overall, both Brissett and Winslow are long and athletic forwards with similar body types if Brissett puts on 10-15 pounds. NBA teams looking for a slasher type with the ability to rebound at a high level should look to Brissett to be in the same mold as Winslow without having to use a lottery-level pick.
Upside: Robert Covington
Any kind of long-term sustainability for Brissett likely doesn’t reside in that Winslow-archetype, however. Those kinds of guys that aren’t effective from the stripe or in spreading the floor offensively are becoming few and far between in the NBA. Instead, any sort of fleshed out career for Brissett will center around his potential as a 3 & D player like Minnesota’s Robert Covington. In an exclusive interview with Orange Fizz, former NBA scout Wes Brown said that the reason Brissett shot up draft boards is because of how good his three-point shot looked at the NBA Combine. Teams saw the potential for him to be a long-term sustainable option because he had improved the long-range jumper and could help spread the floor offensively. His shooting numbers went down from his freshman to sophomore season from 33% to about 27%, but if he’s showing NBA scouts that it’s something he’s worked on then he could easily fill the role of a guy like Covington, someone who shoots the heck out of the ball on the offensive end and defends the heck out his opponents defensively. We know the frame and quickness are there for Brissett to be a potentially high-level defender like Covington who made the All-Defenisve First Team in 2018 and was even in consideration for Defensive Player of the Year. Now, it’s not likely that Brissett gets to quite the level Covington is at shooting-wise or defensively but if he can fit into that mold that guys like RoCo have put out there, then he has a chance of being a legit NBA player.
Current: Glenn Robinson III
The current scouting report on Tyus Battle: Athletic two-guard who can create his own shot and score in bunches. Not an elite ball-handler and has struggles with hitting the three-ball thanks in part to some hitchy mechanics in his jump shot. Excellent pull-up jumper and has the ability to score the ball in multiple ways. While not all of this can be said for Pistons guard Glenn Robinson III, there are certainly a lot of similarities. Much like Robinson (who won the NBA Dunk Contest in 2017), Battle showed off explosive athleticism in his time at Syracuse. When both are in a groove, the three-point shot becomes a weapon, but the problem for both is inconsistency. There were times in games this year that Tyus looked like a legitimate three-point threat and would knock down three or four in a row. Then there were other times that it looked like he was a 25% three-point shooter at best. Although the ceiling has been a bit higher for Robinson in his NBA career (three straight seasons of 37% or better from 2015-2018), the inconsistency has still reared its ugly head (29% or lower in the other two seasons of his career, including 29% this past season). Both are also talented finishers at and around the rim. Tyus is more of a creator than Robinson, but Robinson is more of a freak athlete. By no means is this a perfect comparison (it’s surprisingly difficult to find one for Battle), but the similarities are there.
Upside: Poor Man’s Andrew Wiggins
Being compared to a former No. 1 overall pick who is averaging over 19 points per game in his five year NBA career is pretty impressive, but with the flashes of brilliance that Tyus showed at times during his Syracuse career (37 points vs Florida State as a sophomore, taking over the Duke win this season) the potential could just be there if all the chips fall the exact right way. Explosive scorers off the dribble, both Battle and Wiggins have struggled to knock down the three-ball with consistency and are kings of the “worst shot in basketball” the long two-point jumper. It’s become a sticking point in discussing Wiggins’s value as he enters year six and something similar could be on the horizon for Tyus if he finds a way to put it all together. Battle is a bit smaller at 6-foot-6 (Wiggins is 6-foot-8) and doesn’t quite have the same insane athleticism that Wiggins possesses but the rest of their games match up pretty nicely. Both have shown flashes of incredible potential (Wiggins on a much larger scale than Battle) but in the end both have battled inconsistency, but if Tyus can turn himself into a 15-17 point per game scorer (that’s the poor man’s facet in this comparison) and defend well on the other end, then he may be able to carve out a role a step below what Wiggins does, albeit on a much cheaper contract.