It’s felt like an inevitability for awhile now, but Syracuse forward Oshae Brissett made it official tonight as he posted on his social media accounts that he plans to remain in the 2019 NBA Draft.
The 6-foot-8 forward from Canada was equal parts exciting and frustrating in his two seasons at Syracuse, flashing incredible talent, tenacity, and athleticism while struggling to become consistent on offense. However, there’s no denying he has terrific ability, and if he’s ever able to put it all together, he could have a heck of a future in the NBA.
As it stands right now, Brissett is projected as a second round pick, if he is in fact drafted. Prior to last week’s G-League combine (and then the NBA combine), Brissett wasn’t expected to be on any draft radars. However, he performed well at the G-League event and earned an invite to the NBA version, where he continued to impress with an improved jumper and outstanding fitness and athleticism.
Brissett had a bit of a strange two-year career, with his numbers going down almost across the board from his first to his second season. As a freshman, he averaged 14.9 points and 8.8 rebounds, numbers that dipped to 12.4 and 7.5 as a sophomore. His overall field goal percentage went up from 35.4% to 39.3%, but both his three-point percentage (33.1% to 27.0%) and free throw percentage (78.7% to 66.0%) fell. Overall, he finishes his Syracuse career with career averages of 13.7 points and 8.2 rebounds-per-game, along with a shooting line of .371/.307/.736.
Obviously, those shooting numbers are the biggest reason many have been skeptical about Oshae’s potential to jump to the NBA this season, but when he has flashed, the results have been tantalizing, to say the least. Could he have used another year at Syracuse? Maybe. But that’s not for us to decide, and we also just saw Tyus Battle see his stock drop pretty significantly after staying for a third season. On top of that, Oshae almost certainly had personal reasons to move on from Syracuse, and at this point, the best path for all of us, as fans, is to wish him well and hope he not only gets drafted, but kills it at the next level.
And now, we get to turn toward the future and begin wondering exactly what the rotation will look like in 2019-20. Gone are Frank Howard, Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett, and Paschal Chukwu. Elijah Hughes returns as a starter, and Marek Dolezaj also has starting experience. So does Buddy Boeheim. It will be interesting to see how the starting five shakes out.
Does Eli Hughes stay at small forward, or shift over to shooting guard in the absence of Battle? Or does Buddy take over the SG spot while Eli stays at the three? For now, let’s predict that Jalen Carey gets the nod at point guard. Eli is clearly starting… somewhere. If we can also assume Buddy will start, that rounds out the 1-2-3. Who gets the nod at power forward? Will it be Quincy Guerrier, who is really more of a small forward? Will it be Marek Dolezaj, or will he get more run at center as questions about Bourama Sidibe’s health linger, while John Bol Ajak and Jesse Edwards remain young question marks?
One thing is for certain: with this much turnover and so many new faces and potential rotation changes, it’s perfect timing for the team to be taking a trip to Europe in hopes of working those questions out.