PHOENIX — With Gary Harris and Rodney Hood on the board, the Phoenix Suns went the point guard route by picking Syracuse Orange point guard Tyler Ennis with the 18th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The selection of Ennis came four picks after Phoenix used its 14th pick to take N.C. State swingman T.J. Warren.
“I think the thing that stands out the most with Tyler Ennis is his composure,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough when Phoenix worked out Ennis. “He was unbelievable in late-game situations this year. You look at his possessions in close and late games, he was off-the-charts in how many game-winners he hit and how many big plays he made down the stretch. So for a kid as young as he is to have that kind of composure is very rare. He’s one who just catches and makes the simple play.”
UPDATE: David Aldridge reported the Toronto Raptors are attempting to acquire the rights to Ennis, but it appears the Suns aren’t interested in making any moves.
That doesn’t mean Phoenix will part with Ennis. Paul Coro reported they had planned on keeping him, though anything could change with an appealing return.
Ennis said after his Suns workout that he was working on improving his three-point range and, as a Syracuse player who came from a base zone defense, will have to show he can stay in front of NBA-level point guards on a consistent basis.
What does Ennis thinks stands out about him and ended up selling him to the Suns?
“Just my facilitating ability,” he said this past week. “And just being able to control the tempo of the game. I think I can switch it up. I think I can play in an offensive set. I think I can go up and down as well.
The Syracuse point guard is 19 years old and averaged 12.9 points and 5.5 assists per game this past season. He shot 36 percent from three-point range during his freshman season and earned All-ACC Second Team honors.
The selection of Ennis could be viewed as an odd decision considering the Suns’ depth at point guard. Goran Dragic is under contract for another season, and the Suns have maintained they will do everything to re-sign Eric Bledsoe in his restricted free agency. But with Harris and Hood on the board, it’s clear the Suns believe Ennis could become the best player down the road.
Remember, it’s who will be the best player, not who has the least question marks or most NBA-ready resume on draft night.
Phoenix now faces question marks as the draft goes on. They still have the 27th pick to sell or use as a draft-and-stash selection, and the 50th pick. They face roster decisions down the road with Ish Smith having a non-guaranteed contract for the 2014-15 season that isn’t taking up very much cap space.