Tyler Ennis vs. Marcus Smart: NBA Draft Prospect Match Up

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Basketball Skills

Tyler Ennis is the definition of a cerebral point guard.  He breaks down defenses with patience and decision-making.  This makes him surprisingly unstoppable in a way that Andre Miller and Steve Nash used to breakdown defenders.  It wasn’t with the most devastating first step, but subtle body fakes combined with a crossover or tremendous footwork keep his defenders off-balance.  This allows him to attack the paint, draw defenders, and hit open teammates.  If the defender keeps up, he has a floater and pull-up jumpshot in his arsenal within 15′ that has proven very effective.  Even if the shots don’t drop as often as they should, coaches won’t complain about the shot selection.  Those shots are taken in the paint and well within the context of his offensive skills.

Link to Tyler’s offensive IQ:  Tyler Ennis gets 14 points and 9 assists against Duke.

Marcus Smart likes to use screens and get a step on the defenders before bumping them off-balance on the way to the hoop.  Almost every time he attacks the basket, the defender is able to keep up, and Smart doesn’t completely seal him off with his hip in the way that Nash does.  Marcus Smart though, is more than just a pick and roll player. He operates in the paint with great footwork, just like any fundamental power forward. He will bump and drop step his defenders for layups.  He will play like a shooting guard, coming off of multiple screens and pulling up from 20′.  While his 3-point percentage has dropped, he has improved his perimeter shooting overall.  He was once considered sub-par from the perimeter.  Now?  He’s streaky, to the point of dominating a few NCAA games because of his hot shooting.

Link to Smart’s dominant play:  Marcus Smart scores 39 points with 5 steals and 2 blocks.

Defensively, Ennis plays like a free safety, using his IQ to help out in team situations and force turnovers.  Smart, is able to do that as well.  More importantly, he has the lateral agility, wingspan, and strength to keep up with modern NBA point guards.  He can force turnovers from his own assignment, in team help, or strip basketballs under the basket.  Defense is his specialty, surprisingly, and it’s only a matter of time before the offense catches up with his physical tools.