The Suns selected Kentucky point guard Tyler Ulis with the No. 34 pick in the 2016 NBA draft on Thursday night at the Barclays Center.
Ulis enters the NBA after spending two seasons in Lexington, where he emerged as a top prospect during his sophomore season. This past year, he averaged 17.3 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds in 36.8 minutes per game.
Ulis may be the best passer in the draft, though his 5’9” stature may raise some flags for scouts. But despite concerns over his height, Ulis has excelled on both sides of the court.
Strengths: There’s no better pure passer in this draft—scouts think Tyler Ulis would be the best point guard in this class if were he a few inches taller. Able to slink around the floor with his quickness and ballhandling and score from just about everywhere, Ulis has the requisite skill set to succeed in the NBA as an undersized guard, and teams took notice. He’s an aggressive defender, if not an especially strong one, and his overall understanding of the floor is as strong as any prospect in the class. It’s getting harder and harder to bet against him.
Weaknesses: The size factor shouldn’t keep Ulis from being productive, but it may limit his ceiling somewhat and cap how high a team can justify the selection. He weighed in at just 149 pounds at the draft combine, which is a problem when you factor in his height and the demands he’ll face defensively. He will have to figure out how to score against NBA length on a nightly basis. These shortcomings could restrict him to a backup role.