Friday, June 13, 2014

Timberwolves Draft Profile: Tyler Ennis

With the NBA Draft a little less than two weeks away, it is time to take a look at who the T-Wolves could draft. Leading up to the event we will be doing prospect profiles on potential players the Wolves could end up taking with the 13th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. To start out with I decided to profile Tyler Ennis, a point guard out of Syracuse

Given the situation the T-Wolves currently find themselves in (rock bottom), the front office should go by the following rule: draft the best player available.

Even if that means drafting a point guard. If the front office believes that the best player available when they are on the clock is a point guard, they should draft a point guard and worry about the internet exploding and Bill Simmons getting an aneurysm some other time.

Ricky Rubio is expendable. Everyone on this roster is. Now, is there a great point guard in this draft? Possibly in Marcus Smart, but the chances of him being on the board at 13 is about as likely as Dave Blatt becoming a Timberwolves assistant coach.

But my point being made here is that the T-Wolves flat out need players. Does the thought of drafting Tyler Ennis, a point guard out of Syracuse, disturb me? YES. I don’t have many prejudices in life, my parents taught me to treat people as equal no matter their appearance, creed, orientation or walk of life, but given the recent history the T-Wolves have had with drafting Orangemen (See Johnson, Wes and Flynn, Jonny) I have a prejudice towards Syracuse players like bigoted basketball fans have towards drafting players out of Europe. I’m sorry, I can’t help it. I’m trying to get over it. Maybe MCW will change my stance because Dion Waiters sure as heck didn’t. But hey, if Tyler Ennis is drafted by the T-Wolves and he is good, then my Agent Orangemen PTSD will be forever cured.

And if you think the thought of the T-Wolves drafting Ennis is absurd, it’s not. In fact, a mock draft by Matt Moore of CBS Sports had the T-Wolves drafting the young point guard (that version of his mock draft has since disappeared, but there is evidence of Moore having the T-Wolves taking Ennis on this page on the T-Wolves website). Having already stated my opinion on the thought of drafting an Orangemen, setting those admitted(ly horrible) prejudices aside, the youngster does have some game. He also has some warning signs.

Ennis’ Strengths:
+ A pure point guard with great passing ability, court vision and handle
+ Confidence, poise and maturity for his age
+ A more than solid wingspan at 6’7’’
+ Defensive intangibles that allow him to wreck havoc on team defense (kid knows how to get steals on steals on steals, be that by intercepting passing lanes or helping an interior defender by clawing the ball out from opposing big men posting up)
+ Shows promise as a perimeter shooter (meaning he has solid mechanics and potential to improve)

Ennis’ Weaknesses:
- Needs to improve jump shot
- Lacks elite athleticism. It’s average.
- Given the use of the zone by Syracuse, his abilities as a man-to-man defender are up in the air at the moment, and frankly, according to Draft Express, he sounds as if to be just an average one on one defender.

Analysis: Is it just me, or, minus the fact he has good shooting mechanics, does Ennis sounds eerily like Ricky Rubio coming into the draft? Obviously he is not (at the moment) as good as Ricky, but look over his weaknesses and strengths again. THEY LOOK LIKE RICKY’S!

Regardless, having two Ricky’s wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing (especially if one of them learns how to shoot). We do need a backup point guard (JJ is not cutting it) and Ennis would fill that void. While I wouldn’t draft the kid, if the front office does, I wouldn’t throw a fit - though if he turns out to be a bust, my Agent Orangemen PTSD will only become more severe. That said, I think there will be better players available at the 13th spot. And one of those players, who I will be writing about next, is Klye Anderson.

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