This year’s draft class is one of the best in recent memory not only due to the superior talent at the top, but the amount of quality depth. There is no doubt that there will be multiple players drafted outside the top 14 selections in this year’s NBA Draft who will have an impact in the league next season.
One of the players who is all over the place on various online draft boards is Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis. Ennis, a very mature guard for his age, has shown the ability in college to be a knock down shooter in clutch moments, as well as serve the role of a true point guard; distributing the ball effectively and making good decisions (no more than two turnovers in any game last season for the Orange). His vision and poise on the court already have teams salivating over the possibility of him dropping to the middle of the first round.
One thing he is not is a super athlete. He is not part of this new breed of point guards who are scorers first and facilitators second. He’s not the biggest or fastest guard in this draft by any stretch, but he may have the best all-around skill set of any true point guard in this draft class. One of the biggest question marks about Ennis is how well can he defend at the next level. Because of the well known Syracuse “2-3 Zone” defense, it’s difficult to project how well any prospect from that program can defend the NBA style of play.
Overall, Ennis is just a smooth player. He glides down the lane through traffic, and can finish at the rim or kick it out to open teammates. His combine was better than expected, but teams seem to still be skeptical about his future growth compared to bigger, more athletic guards. The league is becoming more and more populated with super athletic point guards, and that’s something that Ennis is not.
If Ennis falls to No. 16 (which I’ve seen him projected anywhere from No. 8 to No. 19in various mock drafts), the Chicago Bulls should highly consider grabbing Ennis. He is a steal this late in the first round. Yes, I know the Bulls have Derrick Rose as their starting point guard for the foreseeable future, but how confident is everyone that he will be healthy for all that time?
Speaking for every Bulls fan, I hope he stays injury free for the rest of his career, but I’m not sure how likely that is. Having a highly talented prospect like Ennis in the stable behind Rose can only be beneficial. Plus, Rose and Ennis could potentially, down the road, spend some time on the court together, as their games are completely different. Regardless of how anyone feels or thinks the Bulls should handle the Derrick Rose situation moving forward, Ennis is a can’t miss prospect. If the Bulls have an opportunity to grab him in the first round, they better not hesitate.
I see Ennis as a mixture of both Mario Chalmers and Jason Williams, the former Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies point guard. He is such a smooth player with absolutely no fear on the court. He needs to improve his outside shooting, but that will come with time (remember, he’s only 19). He has a swag about him that is infectious, and backs it up on the court with his decisive decision-making.
In his only season at Syracuse, Ennis averaged 12.9 points and 5.5 assists per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio was 3.2, the third best in the NCAA among players who averaged over five assists per game.