My original title for this post was: Ennis the Menace arrives in Milwaukee. OHHHH did I think I was clever. I was so proud of myself for a minute. Ennis the Menace. That’s like Dennis the Menace. And this guy is a point guard, so maybe he gets steals and causes trouble for other teams. I was sure no one else had thought of it.
Plenty of people had thought of it.
So let’s quickly forget how unoriginal I am and move on, because there’s a new sheriff in town. Of course, by sheriff, I mean third point guard. And by town, I mean on the Milwaukee Bucks roster.
Tyler Ennis, a 20-year-old point guard who played collegiately at Syracuse, will now backup the newly acquired Michael Carter-Williams (whenever he gets healthy) and veteran holdover Jerryd Bayless at the point guard position in Milwaukee. The 18th overall pick in last year’s NBA draft, Ennis was the third player acquired in Thursday’s Brandon Knight trade.
Ennis will take over the spot most recently occupied by Jorge Gutierrez, who presumably will not be re-signed to a contract for the rest of the season, now that his second 10-day contract has expired and the Bucks have acquired a point guard who does some of the things he does, but also has a guaranteed contract and is six years younger.
What are those things that Ennis does? Primarily take care of and move the ball. In nine D-League games, he averaged 18.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. He hasn’t had much time in the NBA yet, having played only 58 minutes scattered across eight games, but at Syracuse, Ennis was a low risk player who looked for others before himself. From Draft Express:
Like the 76ers rookie in his final year at Syracuse, Ennis’s 14.2 possessions used per-game and .889 points per possession overall both rank among the lowest marks of any guard in this draft. However, Ennis’s 11.5% turnover rate is among the lowest in this group and is just over half the 22.1% turnover rate Carter-Williams posted before turning pro. His profile on the whole highlights his impressive capacity to play low-mistake basketball and improvable offensive game.
That seems encouraging.
“Of all the guys on our team, he’s probably the one guy who can go out there, and he’ll call a play, he sees what’s going on out there and he’ll get guys into a certain play that he thinks might work.”
To be honest, he doesn’t sound all that menacing. So we’ll need a better nickname at some point.
It sounds like the Bucks acquired someone in the vein of one of the players they traded away, Kendall Marshall. Marshall thrived at moving the ball and looked for his teammates as much as possible before calling his own number. While Ennis doesn’t have the size Marshall did, he does have youth on his side and the lure of potential. He’s guaranteed through 2017-18 so long as the Bucks keep picking up his options. They’ll assess him the rest of this season and decide next October if they have a potential interest in him past next season.
He’s a low cost throw in on this deal and, at the very least, gives Milwaukee another interesting player that could be packaged as part of a larger deal at some point this summer or beyond that. Acquiring players with first round pedigree has some value, as other teams value that original draft spot to a certain degree, regardless of whether or not a player has produced on the court. And when a player has played as little as Ennis, his draft position likely carries a bit more weight.
With Carter-Williams out for now, Ennis will probably get his first opportunity for extended minutes quickly in Milwaukee. We’ll probably learn a great deal more about Ennis a week from now than most Suns fans did in the past three and a half months.