The Suns selected Tyler Ennis with the No. 18 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday. Here’s a look at Ennis and how he fits with Phoenix:
Bio: Syracuse | Freshman | Point guard
Vitals: 6-2, 182 pounds
2013-14 stats: 12.9 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 41.0 FG%, 35.3 3FG%
Strengths: The Canadian-born Ennis is a pure point guard and heady floor general who plays under control. Ennis understands how to work the pace of the game and doesn’t force things. He’s a great ball handler and passer and adept at running the pick-and-roll. Defensively, his smarts translated into steals last season in the Syracuse zone and his wingspan measured 6-7¼ at the combine. Ennis may not be a star, but he has a chance to have a long, steady career.
Weaknesses: Ennis will have to find ways to score consistently in the NBA. He’s not outstanding in terms of penetrating for shots and finishing, and he'll want to improve on his 35.3 percent three-point shooting with the Orange. Because he played in Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone, there’s uncertainty about his man-to-man defense. He’s a good-not-great athlete whose longevity will depend on team fit and how far his high basketball IQ takes him.
Team Fit: Phoenix already boasts two point guards, Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe in their backcourt – and now they add Ennis, with guys who could fill a floor-spacing need like Gary Harris and Rodney Hood still on the board. Another Canadian point guard once starred for Phoenix, and Ennis could follow in the footsteps of Steve Nash, who has mentored him with the Canadian national program as a steady decision-maker who’s underrated as a scorer.
You also wonder what this means in the case of Bledsoe, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. Maybe Phoenix doesn’t think they can afford to keep him. But right now, the impetus behind this selection is a bit unclear – and that’s not a knock on Ennis at all.