Height/Weight: 6’6, 205 lbs.
Tyus Battle is the heart and soul of the Syracuse Orange, and he does so much for that team. As the leading scorer in a bad offense each of the past two seasons, Battle is tasked with carrying a big load on offense while always being the opposing defense’s top priority. His size and strength as well as his ability to score the rock in multiple ways makes him a solid NBA prospect.
The biggest strength of Battle’s game is that he’s a true three level scorer. Although streaky from three point range, when he gets going he can really stroke it from deep, and possesses a very smooth form on his jumper.
He is also one of the nation’s best pull-up shooters, which is a very effective change of pace move for someone who gets pressed out at the three point line and is forced to put the ball on the floor. Even though he’s not the quickest guy out there, he is able to get into the lane often using a combination of size, strength, and craftiness. He possesses a soft touch around the rim, and can finish well with both hands using a variety of moves. Battle is a very skilled all-around player and also an above average ball handler for a two guard.
Battle has ideal size for an NBA shooting guard, standing 6’6 and a solid 205 lbs. He has gotten stronger every year since enrolling at Syracuse as a freshman, and it’s helped him immensely on both ends of the floor. His ability to get to the rim has improved greatly year over year at Syracuse, and he’s been more effective at the top of the zone on defense, using his length and strength to get in the passing lane and keep guys in front of him. He’s very active and disruptive defensively, and does a great job of anticipating and getting in the passing lane for some easy steals and transition buckets.
Battle’s biggest weakness is his inconsistency shooting the rock. When he’s on, he’s really on, but he can get cold just about as often as he is hot. This is especially true from three, as he has failed to shoot above 33% from distance each of the last two seasons. Battle needs to prove he can be relied upon night in and night out the rest of the way this season to convince NBA front offices he can be a reliable shooter at the next level.
Battle’s quickness is below average, and he lacks explosiveness on his first step. He sometimes gets caught over-dribbling, which often leads to a turnover or a bad shot at the end of the shot clock. He also tends to stand around too much off the ball instead of working to get himself open, however, both this and the over-dribbling can partially be attributed to the Syracuse offense, which is horribly inefficient in the half court and consists of way too much iso-ball.
Another concern to point out with Battle is the fact that he’s only played zone at Syracuse, so whether or not he is a capable man to man defender will remain a mystery throughout his college career. This is an inherent issue teams have when evaluating Syracuse players, and front offices ultimately have to guess at how good a defender will be at the next level. I believe Battle possesses the tools needed to be a solid defender in the NBA, but it will remain an uncertainty until he gets there and that uncertainty may cause teams to pause when considering drafting him.
Battle is one of those prospects that people seem to either love or hate. His stock was all over the place as a sophomore, and he tested the draft waters last spring before deciding to return for his junior season. He will have an interesting decision to make again this spring, and I ultimately think he’ll end up declaring.
Battle’s size, skill, and ability to score in multiple ways should be enough to hear his name called in June, but what round he’s selected in is the big question. He is most likely an early to mid second round pick, but if he can play at a consistently high level the rest of the season and avoid any extended shooting slumps, he may end up hearing his name called late in the first round.