Some say the "true" point guard is a dying breed. On Thursday night, the Phoenix Suns made it clear they don't agree.
With the 18th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Ryan McDonough and his staff selected Syracuse floor general Tyler Ennis.
While other point guards in this class like Dante Exum, Marcus Smart and Elfrid Payton are built around their physical gifts and ability to score the ball, Ennis is someone who makes those around him better.
And according to former coach Jim Boeheim, via the Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins, Ennis is ready to make an immediate impact at the next level:
He's not somebody that's going to have a big learning curve. He understands. He's smart. I've had four or five point guards taken in the first round, and I probably did less with him in terms of getting him to do things, or coaching him to do things, than anybody that I've coached.
As other true freshmen around the nation commanded all of the attention, Ennis quietly and calmly went about his business in 2013-14, averaging 12.9 points, 5.5 assists (to just 1.7 turnovers) and 2.1 steals per contest. He was named to the All-ACC Second Team, All-ACC Defensive Team and All-ACC Freshman Team for his efforts.
With Ennis, though, it's about so much more than his numbers or individual accomplishments.
Game in and game out, the 19-year-old boasted the poise of a savvy senior who had been on campus longer than Grant Gibbs. Ennis was unflappable no matter the game situation, always playing under the same speed with the same composure—and always making the right play.
He hit a countless number of game-winners or go-ahead buckets in the final moments of games, whether it was a floater in the lane or a 30-foot dagger:
Ennis may not be great at any one thing, but he is solid across the board. He can pass, defend, take care of the ball and score. And as ESPN's Chad Ford and Jeff Goodman noted following the combine, his lack of athleticism—thought to be a major negative—has been overstated:
Tyler Ennis posted the second fastest modified lane agility score in the #NBACombine Is he still unathletic?— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 16, 2014
Tyler Ennis with a solid 36-inch max vertical.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 16, 2014
He isn't short on confidence, either. When reporters asked him at the combine if he was the best point guard in this class, he didn't hold back:
Definitely. I think I have the ability to lead a team, I think I have the ability to make others better and I think I’m able to put those together into a true point guard, who is also able to score when my team needs me. There are a lot of guys who can really score the ball, maybe some who can score better than me, but none that can put together the whole package as a point guard better than I can in this draft.
Ennis isn't likely to follow in Michael Carter-Williams' footsteps as a Syracuse point guard to win Rookie of the Year. He just doesn't tally enough numbers.
But Jeff Hornacek likely couldn't care less about that.
Ennis is a natural leader who has proven he has the chops and mental fortitude to be leaned on at the next level if necessary, even as a rookie.