NBA Position: PG
General Information: 19 year old Freshman, played at Syracuse University. From Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
Measurables: 6'2.5, 182 lbs, 6'7.25 wingspan, 8'2 standing reach
2013-14 Season Statistics: 12.9 PPG, 5.5 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.7 TPG (35.7 Minutes per contest) - 41.1% FG, 76.5% FT, 35.3% 3P, 51.1% TSP
Summary: Tyler Ennis is a smart, confident pure-point guard who proved over the season that he could make the right plays in big moments. As a passer and as a ball handler, Ennis is one of the best in the class and should develop into a starting caliber point guard given a few years of training. His scoring ability and jumpshot are not NBA ready, and he needs to get way stronger to hold his own against big league competition, but he's a solid late-lottery selection with good all-around potential.
Offensive Breakdown: While Ennis will likely be the third point guard chosen come June 26th, he'll be the first "true" point guard taken. While both Marcus Smart and Dante Exum should be taken before Ennis, one of Ennis' strengths is that he's the best "traditional" point guard in the class, highlighted by his 5.5 assist per game average and his even nicer 3.2/1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Ennis has solid court vision and he's a decisive passer. He was the leader of the Syracuse team which won their first 25 games and spent time as the No. 1 team in the nation. I don't expect that Ennis will enter the league and have immediate success at running a team, but he'd got good foundations as a floor leader for a 19 year old.
As a scorer, Ennis isn't NBA ready. He's got a good foundation of skills-he's comfortable driving to the basket and he's got both a mid-range game and a three point shot. He's absurdly balanced as a scorer; 38% of his shots were at the rim, 38% were two-point jumpers, and 23% were from three.
None of his shots were consistent all year, aside from a mid-range floater he likes to pull when he gets into the lane. Against bigger, stronger and faster NBA point guards, I expect he'll have a rough few years until he solidifies as a shooter.
To his credit, Ennis does come into the draft with a proven history of big shots, highlighted by his game-winner against Pittsburg and his near single-handed comeback against Dayton in the NCAA Tournament. Multiple times over the season, he proved he could make big plays in big games; he's got a certain Trey Burke moxie to him.
Defensive Breakdown: As with any Syracuse players, it's tough to predict just how good a defender Ennis will be once he transitions from the team's zone defense. He's a quick, aware defender and was rarely complacent, so all signs point toward the positive. He isn't at the level of former Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams, an NBA level defender coming out of college, but Ennis won't cause major problems, either. He will need to bulk up to face bigger NBA guards.
Intangibles: Because of the Orange's disappointing collapse towards the end of the season and their eventual ousting by Dayton, I believe Ennis has become a bit underrated. There wasn't a better freshman point guard in the country, and Ennis did a great job of running the Orange. He was the team's floor general and one of their vocal leaders, and comes into the NBA with no major red flags. The fact that he isn't fully NBA ready shouldn't be a major detriment, and I believe he will be a very capable long-term starter.
Fit with Sacramento: The drafting of Ennis wouldn't for sure signal the ending of Isaiah Thomas' Kings career, but Ennis wouldn't fit alongside Thomas like the two combo guards (Exum and Smart) would. Ennis isn't short for a PG (6'2.5 in shoes), but he can't be expected to guard any shooting guards. Unless the Kings were committed to making Thomas a long-term 6th man, I'd wager an Ennis pick would mean adios to the beloved Pizza Guy.
Thomas worries aside, Ennis would provide the Kings with a pass-first point guard to help build the offense. Ennis' assist rate in college was 32.3%, which was 2nd only to Elfrid Payton (32.9%) in terms of first round worthy point guards. After watching Ennis this year, I was surprised his assist rate wasn't higher-you can see his main focus was directing the squad and getting teammates involved.
I believe it will take Ennis a year or two before he will be starter ready. If Thomas is around, this wouldn't be much of an issue, but should he depart it would leave the Kings with two unproven young points in Ennis and McCallum; a significant step back, at least in the immediate future.
Ennis will be a solid point guard in the NBA and has all-around solid potential, but he'd benefit most going to a team that doesn't immediately need his services.
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