Tyler Ennis a cerebral point guard at the NCAA level. He plays with a veteran poise, not common to rookie point guards. He doesn’t rush plays. He makes the simple pass. He breaks down the defense with great efficiency, not quickness or speed. This makes him a great Laker draft candidate.
Listed at 6’2″, with shoes, he has solid height at the point guard position. His wingspan makes up for a bit of height at 6’5″, which is above average for the position. While he’s a bit light at 180lbs., strength is easy to gain at the NBA level. What is important to note is, he isn’t reliant as heavily on his physical tools to put up two points on the board.
Athletically, scouts will call him, deceptive. He has a quick first step, but uses shoulder fakes and subtle headfakes to breakdown a defender. He may not finish with a powerful dunk, or leap exceptionally high for rebounds, but he makes the best of his physical tools.
Offensively, he’s a gifted player. The NBA level of play demands guards who can breakdown their opponent. Ennis combines advanced ball-handling, a good first step, and great body control to shake his initial defender when he wants to penetrate the defense. More importantly, his court awareness is outstanding, so he’s able to find teammates cutting to the basket and make proper reads on offense to get layups for teammates. He shoots 39% from behind the 3-point line to keep defenses honest, and has a solid floater in the midrange area. He’s able to draw the defense down to the free throw line, find the open man, and set up his teammates into scoring position effectively. Against Duke in overtime, he set up Jerami Grant for three dunks. He identified the mismatch each time, and even went away from the pick and roll situation by another teammate, just to set Grant up. That’s a testament to his court awareness and his passing ability. He has a 3.8 to 1 assist to turnover ratio, which is outstanding for an NCAA player, nevermind a freshman. Whether it’s transition play or running a half-court set, he’s always in control. One concern may be his ability to get all the way to the basket. Steve Nash uses screens and is able to change directions twice on dribble penetration to get to the basket. Chris Paul has the same ability. Ennis can develop that ability, and it would help his field goal percentage tremendously. At the NCAA level, he’s shooting 43.6% overall, just 45% within the two-point area.
Defensively, he has a knack for the basketball. Laterally, he can keep up on the first step or two on dribble penetration, but at the NBA level, may be overwhelmed by tremendous athletes at the position. While Syracuse plays zone defense and matches up man-to-man rarely, he’s able to make reads defensively. This shows he has a knack for ball anticipation and cutting into passing lanes, as indicated by his 2.4 steals per game. Michael Carter-Williams, at 6’5″, with an equal wingspan to Ennis, has shown that is a translatable NBA skill. Carter-Williams stole the ball 2.8 times per game, and is among the NBA league leaders at 2.2. While man-defense may be a concern for Ennis, his ability to force turnovers and make efficient use of offensive possessions, allow him to generate momentum for his team and keep his team in the game, regardless of the score.
Tyler Ennis is one of the promising Canadian prospects to cross into the NBA level. Anthony Bennett showed tremendous potential as a freshman for UNLV. Andrew Wiggins is still highly regarded as the #1 prospect in the NBA draft. His leadership shows when he’s on the floor, constantly looking to put teammates in easy positions to score. Ennis doesn’t have the flash of Bennett going coast-to-coast or Wiggins flying in for a dunk, but he plays the game with a coach’s patience, earns the respect of his teammates, and ultimately, wins games.