We’re back this week with another edition to “the top 5 GTA players to watch in the NBA this year.”
After profiling Nik Stauskas last week at number five, we will analyze another young gun coming out of western part of the city this week.
Brampton’s very own 20 year-old Tyler Ennis.
Mar 9, 2014; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Syracuse Orange forward C.J. Fair (5) and guard Tyler Ennis (11) and guard Trevor Cooney (10) celebrate after Florida State Seminoles called a time out during the first half at Donald L. Tucker Center. Syracuse defeated Florida State 74-58. Mandatory Credit: Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports
#4 Tyler Ennis
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 180 lbs
GTA high school: Father Henry Car 2009-2010, 2010-2011
Drafted: 2014, 18th overall pick by the Phoenix Suns
After a one-and-done campaign with the Syracuse Orange last year, Ennis will be looking to stake his claim among the NBA’s top rookie point guards.
He will be joining the Phoenix Suns, a franchise with a long history of elite guards such as Danny Ainge, Stephon Marbury, and of course fellow canuck Steve Nash.
What will be interesting to see however, is the way Phoenix head coach Jeff Hornacek will incorporate Ennis into his two point guard game plan. The Suns just recently locked up fellow guard Eric Bledsoe to a five-year $70 million deal following his breakout season last year.
Add in starting point guard Goran Dragic who is entering a contract year for the Suns, and you have a pretty crowded back court that may keep Ennis from seeing prime minutes this year.
But what exactly made Tyler Ennis such a commodity that the Suns were willing to grab the freshman in the top 20?
During his one-year stint at Syracuse, Ennis had one of the lowest turnover rates for point guards in college and one of the best assists rates out of the pick and roll.
Ennis also has a reputation of getting involved in nearly every statistical facet of a game, he averaged 2.1 steals per game and recorded 5.5 assists per game in Syracuse.
The numbers are exceptional, but he does lack an ability to finish at the rim. He made just 50% of his shots inside the paint as a freshman, so expect Ennis to leave the paint jobs for the big boys in the desert.
Even his own former coach at Syracuse, Jim Boeheim, felt the youngster needed another year to let his body mature.
This is a fair criticism on the 19 year-old given his stats in the paint, but all in all Ennis is a kid with an incredibly high basketball IQ that will have time to learn the ways of the NBA.
Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Tyler Ennis (Syracuse) reacts after being selected as the number eighteen overall pick to the Phoenix Suns in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
My only fear for him is that he may not stay fully engaged now that he has Isaiah Thomas, starter Goran Dragic, and recently re-signed Eric Bledsoe to contend with for minutes.
This first year might have its share of growing pains for Ennis, but when he does get his playing time don’t be surprised to see him pick apart lazy NBA defenses that might underestimate his quickness.
If he makes the most of his opportunities, he might even make a case for the higher ups in Phoenix to re-consider signing Dragic when he becomes a free agent next summer.
That would be a dream scenario for Ennis’ budding career, but he first needs to show he can lead an NBA offence with a pass-first mentality in garbage time, anything after that this year is a bonus.
A lot of “maybe’s” and “if’s” for this kid, but the beauty of it is just the same, he literally has nothing to lose.
Why not take it all?