A quick take on Syracuse being shut out of the 2019 NBA Draft:
WHAT HAPPENED: Sixty draft picks came and went on Thursday night, but former Syracuse stars Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle were not among them. A former Syracuse commit, Darius Bazley, went at No. 23 to the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was a good night overall for the ACC, as it set a record six lottery picks and a record-tying 10 first-round selections.
ANALYSIS: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that neither Brissett or Battle were drafted. Both were either projected at the end of the second round, or not drafted at all. For Battle, the decision to leave seemed logical. He had hit his ceiling at Syracuse and another year was likely not to raise his stock any further. The same cannot be said for Brissett, who would’ve been SU’s featured offensive player had he come back for his junior season. Brissett also tailed off from freshman to sophomore year, with drops in his 3-point shooting percentage (33.1 down to 27.0), points (14.9 to 12.4) and rebounds (8.8 to 7.5).
HERO: Bazley took a unique path to the NBA, first committing to Ohio State before flipping his commitment to the Orange. He then decommitted from Syracuse, instead choosing to pursue a career in the G League, though that plan never came to fruition either, with him instead earning $1 million at an internship with New Balance. The question is whether Bazley could’ve raised his stock by playing a season at Syracuse. The national exposure and a deep NCAA Tournament run would’ve favored him, though it may have also exposed some of his weaknesses and dropped his stock further. Either way, he’s a first round draft pick with millions of dollars in guaranteed money heading his way.
ZERO: For the second straight year, Syracuse did not produce a draft pick. You have to look pretty far back into SU’s history to find the last time Syracuse went two years without a pick. It goes back to the 1997-99 seasons with the gap between John Wallace and Jason Hart/Etan Thomas. Can Syracuse break the streak next year? Perhaps forward Quincy Guerrier can have a breakout year. Or Jalen Carey can take a leap in his sophomore season.
WHAT’S NEXT: Brissett and Battle are not alone. Some other big names that didn’t get drafted included LSU’s Naz Reid, prep-to-pro prospect Jalen Lecque, St. John’s Shamorie Ponds and Oregon’s Louis King. They’ll all get looks on an NBA Summer League roster, with another chance at proving they belong on an NBA roster come fall.