The Beyond Section: How Good is Tyler Ennis?

– Posted by Zurg –

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If you didn’t know who Tyler Ennis was before yesterday’s instant classic between Syracuse and Duke, you do now.

The freshman point guard (14 points, 9 assists) showed incredible poise in the Orange’s 91-89 overtime victory. CJ Fair’s 28 points certainly helped, but Ennis handled everything thrown at him and then some. Jim Boeheim has been everything but shy with his opinion of Tyler, likening his maturity as a freshman to that of Carmelo Anthony.

Last night, Jabari Parker watched from the sideline as the “best of the rest” point guard from Brampton, Ontario finished his work, weaving in and out of defenders, sending up floaters and free throws that barely even touched the net as they fell through the hoop. Ranked 22nd in his recruiting class, Tyler Ennis has firmly planted his name on NBA Big Boards from ESPN to Yahoo.

As of January 29th, Chad Ford had Tyler Ennis ranked 10th on his Big Board. NBADraft.net has Ennis ranked 11th, and Draft Express has him at #13 overall. His maturity, ability to finish, outside stroke, and ball handling are listed as his strengths, while the consensus is that he lacks the athleticism most of the players ahead of him demonstrate.

Comparisons are tossed around all the time with college prospects. Andrew Wiggins has been “the next LeBron” since his Sports Illustrated cover hit newsstands – and Jabari Parker typically falls into the role of Carmelo in that discussion. The debates seemingly never end – but the argument is always fun.

Now that Tyler Ennis has joined the conversation as one of the best (if not the best) freshmen in the country, it’s only fair to throw a couple (probably unfair) comparisons his way. Let’s take a look at a couple blind résumés:

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Tyler Ennis fits in pretty well with Players A, B, C, and D on this list.

Obviously, Syracuse hasn’t lost yet this year – so Ennis’s record versus the KenPom Top 25 is more impressive than just about anyone else’s. Syracuse has played and beaten some of the best teams in the country, including Villanova and Duke.

In terms of everything else, Ennis ranks right around the average. His poise this season is displayed by his outstandingly low 1.4 turnovers per game. No other player on this list comes close to that – but each guy has his own strengths and weaknesses. Players A and B are very similar to Ennis aside from more variance in their shooting percentages. Players C and D score and assist the most, but they also turn the ball over at the highest rate (Player D turns the ball over almost three times more than Tyler Ennis).

So who are these other players? Drum roll, please.

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Quite the list to be on, Mr. Ennis. The numbers show the best college season each of these top professionals had – and Tyler Ennis compares favorably with all of them.

Say what you will, but it’s time to consider Tyler Ennis when you discuss which freshman is going to end up having the best NBA career.

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