Height/Weight: 6'2.5", 182 lbs
Age: 19 years old
Projected NBA Position: Point guard
Pro Comparison: D.J. Augustin/Poor man's Tony Parker
Twitter Handle: @tdot_ennis
Ontario native Tyler Ennis didn't enter his freshman year at Syracuse with the one-and-done label, but his polished point guard play drew widespread attention from scouts and executives.
His court vision, playmaking prowess and control of the offense were impressive for a 19-year-old, suggesting he could become a dependable and productive floor general in the NBA.
Although he wasn't in the draft conversation to begin the year, he guided Syracuse to a 25-0 start and showed the creativity and poise of a college veteran. Suddenly, he found himself in the lottery range. Ennis may not have the strength and all-around versatility of Marcus Smart or the dynamic upside of Dante Exum, but he's one of the best guards in the 2014 draft class.
Stardom may not be in his future, but he could become a key facilitator and leader in the Association.
|Statistics at Syracuse|
Ennis may be an underwhelming 182 pounds and 6'2.5" with shoes on, but his length and agility make up for his small-ish frame.
While his game isn't predicated on vertical explosiveness or strength, Ennis shakes past many defenders due to his deceptive quickness and hesitation moves. In the lane, he displays terrific body control as he angles for a scoop shot.
His physical tools aren't going to stand out on the defensive end, but his wingspan and agility should help him hold his own.
Court Awareness and Playmaking Skills
Ennis' greatest asset is his ability to facilitate an offense with his point guard instincts and precision ball skills.
He can scan the defense and hit passing targets from the perimeter, or he can penetrate and create once he gets into the lane. Ennis has a great sense of timing, and he has a sharp awareness of where his teammates are in relation to the defense.
During his freshman campaign, he passed extremely efficiently and made few mistakes. He doled out 6.2 assists per 40 minutes compared to just 1.9 turnovers, per Sports-Reference.com, giving him a healthy assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.3.
NBA scouts love Ennis' ability to command the offense with his smooth skills and court vision, as he's always looking to make the optimal play for his squad.
"(Ennis) knows how to run a team," one scout told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. "Made big plays in big moments last season. A pass-first point guard who thinks like a coach."
The team that drafts Ennis knows he's going to properly diagnose the defense and look for mismatches. It also knows he'll thrive in the pick-and-roll with talented roll men, and he'll look to take advantage of transition opportunities.
Jump Shooting and Floaters
Ennis isn't going to be a monster scorer in the NBA, as he's not going to finish above the rim much or create his own shot at a high volume.
However, he'll be able to keep defenses honest with his outside shooting ability and mid-range game.
He shot just 35 percent from long range at Syracuse, but the youngster's form and delivery look smooth and fundamental. It's just a matter of time and repetition before he's a 37-40 percent shooter from the NBA line.
When he attacks off the dribble, he uses change of pace and change of direction to get past his defender. Once he gets into the teeth of the defense, he relies upon floaters and scoop shots to score.
The main reason Ennis is able to facilitate smoothly and play with the mind of a coach is his even-keeled manner and poised approach to the game.
In the middle of the most hectic games, he maintains a cool countenance and doesn't let anything distract him from executing his point guard duties. This calmness not only allows him to thrive, but it helps settle down his teammates and keeps them focused.
Whether he's a starter or a sixth man in the Association, his unflappable demeanor is something coaches love in a key decision-maker.
Even though Ennis tested well athletically at the NBA Draft Combine, he may have trouble finishing at the rim and performing as a one-on-one stopper at the next level.
He does a great job of finding seams in opposing defenses, but when he gets near the hoop, he's not the most impressive scorer.
Ennis won't elevate above the fray in the NBA, and he's not going to acrobatically score too often. In addition, his slight frame is going to make it tough for him to play through contact.
Defensively, he has good instincts and good hands, but he may not be laterally explosive enough to slow down today's lightning-quick playmakers.
He played zone exclusively in college, so he must prove he can hold his ground in isolations. Ennis didn't always show a high-energy competitiveness on that end of the floor at Syracuse.
When he embarks on his career this coming fall, Ennis will bring a game-ready mindset and polished skills to contribute right away. But it might take some time for him to adjust to the sheer speed and size of today's NBA game.
At the very least, however, he could serve as a competent reserve, a backup point guard who can create a little and make all the right reads at the helm of the offense.
Ennis' ceiling isn't incredibly lofty, although he could develop from a high-level backup into a competent starter.
He's drawn comparisons mostly to players like Mario Chalmers and D.J. Augustin, although he's shown the savvy playmaking qualities of stars like Tony Parker and Andre Miller.
If he becomes a starter, he'll probably be just the fourth or fifth scoring option on the floor, but he could dish five or six assists and be a critical catalyst of the attack.
We probably won't see too many of his plays in highlight reels or viral videos, but he's going to master all the nuances that keep his squad running efficiently.
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