March Madness: How Tyler Ennis Would Fit With The Lakers
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We continue with our March Madness series. Thursday focused on Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell while yesterday looked at Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart.

Today we stick with the point guards and focus on Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis. Ennis has risen on draft boards possibly higher than anyone else since the beginning of this season.

In leading the Orange to a 25-0 start, Ennis grabbed the attention of scouts everywhere, and now looks to be the most safe, and NBA-ready point guard prospect in the draft.

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PROS

Ennis has everything you look for in an old-school, pass first point guard. He has excellent court vision, can make every pass you need to, and can knock down the open jump shot if left open.

He has an excellent handle with either hand, and rarely turns the ball over. He has posted a nearly 4-to-1 assist to turnover ratio this season and averages more than two steals a game as well.

While he isn’t the loud, yelling type of person, he is a quiet leader. He has no problem directing traffic on offense, and is a true floor general.

He excels at getting in the paint and is able to finish with both hands, or find open shooters. While not the fastest person in the world, he is great at getting the break started with open court passes, much like Kendall Marshall.

Playing at Syracuse, in the tough ACC, his game never wavered. He was a steady player in every sense, having only eight games with less than four assists, and eight games in single digit scoring.

CONS

The main issues with Ennis revolve around defense, and his lack of elite quickness and athleticism.

The NBA is full of point guards who are either explosive athletes like Russell Westbrook, John Wall, and Eric Bledsoe, or extremely quick like Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, and Damian Lillard.

Ennis has to be able to guard these guys and we don’t know if he can do it yet. Playing in the signature Syracuse 2-3 zone does nothing to answer those questions. With the Lakers being terrible defensively as it is, they are surely looking to turn that defensive rating around and Ennis probably won’t.

There is also a question of whether he has NBA three-point range. He shot 37.5 percent from three-point range this season, but the deeper NBA line could prove to be more of a challenge.

One other question regarding Ennis is his development potential. Is he a player who can grow into an elite point guard averaging 18 points and nine assists? Or is he just more of a ten point, six assist role player?

Everyone can’t be a star, but that is what you are looking for in a top-10 pick and it is unsure if Ennis can become that.

OVERALL OUTLOOK

Ennis’ ceiling is slightly lower than that of Smart or Dante Exum, but his floor is also much higher than those two. He isn’t an elite athlete by any means, but he also isn’t Andre Miller slow.

He understands the game of basketball extremely well and is someone who can come in and contribute right now.

The Lakers have been trying to get a true point guard to take over the reins for a few years now and Ennis could undoubtedly be that guy.

If Ennis can improve his jump shot a little bit, he can become a George Hill-type player at worst. At best, Ennis can develop into a player similar to New Orleans point guard Jrue Holiday.

Ennis will have a spot in this league because of his excellent passing and court vision. If the Lakers are able to add a couple of big names like Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony to go along with Kobe Bryant, Ennis would be the perfect addition to run the show.

If the Lakers end up in the 6-8 range in the draft, Ennis will be in the conversation. Ennis will be a steady, reliable point guard, with the potential to become even greater. With the Lakers point guard position going through so much turmoil, he would lock down that position for years to come.
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