In a surprise, the Phoenix Suns took the best pure point in the draft.
Position: Point Guard
Draft Range: Draft Express - 16, NBA Draft Insider - 22, NBADraft.net - 25, ESPN - 16
- Height: 6'1" without shoes, 6'2.5" in shoes
- Weight: 182 pounds
- Wingspan: 6' 7.25"
- Standing Reach: 8' 2"
- Maximum Vertical Leap: 36.0"
- Lane Agility: 11.12 seconds
- 3/4 Court Sprint: 3.30 seconds
- Shuttle Run: 2.84 seconds
Tyler Ennis is the purest pure point guard to cross the Suns' draft board since Kendall Marshall. At age 20, he is already regarded as a cerebral and unflappable floor general with a killer instinct. While not a potent scorer, he has shown he is willing to step up and take the big shot if the right distribution opportunity doesn't present itself. In Syracuse's zone scheme, he was a disruptive ball hawk, averaging over 2 steals per game. Could Tyler Ennis be the next Hall of Fame Phoenix Suns' point guard?
Tyler Ennis runs the game. He is a confident and mature leader who dictates the pace from the point position. Excellent court vision and a top-notch handle allowed Ennis to average 5.5 assists per game versus 1.7 turnovers in 35.7 minutes of play per game. That's an average of one turnover every 21 minutes. That's mad ball control. There is little doubt that as a game manager and passer, Ennis has the skills to succeed at the next level. In addition to his gifts as a passer, Ennis will come into the NBA with lots of pick and roll experience under his belt, thanks to Syracuse's P and R heavy offense.
Ennis is confident if inconsistent shooter. He showed some range in college, but averaged a middling 35.3% from beyond the arc and an even less encouraging 42.9% inside it. That low shooting percentage has as much to do with his inability to finish inside the paint as it does with any issues with his jumper. Lacking elite speed or strength, Ennis struggles to get to the rim. While that's a problem that might resolve itself with training and conditioning, it will also certainly be exploited by taller and faster NBA defenders.
In Syracuse's zone defense, Ennis was a terror. His lengthy reach allowed him to force turnovers at the rate of 2.1 steals per game. What's encouraging is that those long arms will follow him to the NBA. What's less encouraging is that no one can be sure how that propensity to wreak havoc will translate to the man-on-man world of the NBA. Again, his lack of upper echelon speed and strength will cast into sharp relief among the world class athletes of the NBA.
Overall and Fit for the Suns
One thing that everyone gushes about when it comes to Tyler Ennis is his intelligence. The words "coachable", "cerebral", and even "sponge" come up over and over again. So do words like "mature" and "confident." Those are all words I like to hear. It's possible that paired with the right coach or system, Ennis could improve his jump-shooting, defense and strength to the point where he is a complete player as well as passer. It's also possible he's Kendall Marshall 2.0.
That's not really as big a knock on him as it might seem. Thanks to his passing, Kendall Marshall will probably have a fair and potentially long NBA career ('Sup, Penny?). And I think that's Tyler Ennis' floor. If he develops into a reliable perimeter shooter or crafty penetrator (Steve Nash, anyone?), his ceiling is much much higher. Ennis could end up being a steal in the middle of the first round.
Of course, anyone with upside is a potential steal at that point in the draft. It's what makes the draft so enticing. I could seen Ennis as a change of pace guard backing up Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe and would almost certainly be a better facilitator than Ish Smith. As a point guard prospect though, I'd rather see the Suns make a run at Elfrid Payton, despite Ennis' considerable intangibles.
What do you think? Is Tyler Ennis worth a pick ahead of Payton? Should the Suns even use one of their 3 first round picks to draft a point guard?