The Bulls have to go all in for Tyler Ennis
(Photo credit msn.foxsports.com)
The NBA Draft is Thursday, June 26 and that is when the Bulls have to make a decision on how team wants to go as far as the most important position on the court point guard. The team’s star point guard Derrick Rose is coming off a second season when he missed significant time with a knee injury. The Bulls’ have to decide whether or not if they have a viable backup point guard on the roster.
The Bulls and former Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis will meet on May 22. As a freshman, at Syracuse Ennis averaged 12.9 points per game with 5.5 assists. The 6-foot-3 point guard is ranked second in Gary Parrish’s NBA Draft rankings. Ennis has average size and athleticism compared with the other guards entering the draft.
Ennis can fit into the role of pure point guard a position that the Bulls have not had since Kirk Hinrich’s first stint with the team. Ennis has a versatile offensive move set, and he is a willing passer. He has a high basketball IQ, and at Syracuse he played the pick and roll.
Ennis’ playmaking ability is what separates him from other players in this draft class. He is one of the few “pure point guards” you can point to, as he led the NCAA in PPR as a freshman, posting a rate 50% higher than the next best PG. Ennis plays with a maturity beyond his years, as he operates at his own pace, is incredibly unselfish, and is always under control. He whips the ball all over the floor with great timing, moving the ball ahead for easy transition baskets, making pinpoint post-entry passes, and doing a tremendous job executing the pick and roll thanks to his superb ball-handling skills and court vision.
Hinrich played in 73 games this season with the Bulls, but he can be blamed for the offensive struggles the Bulls had throughout the season. His 2.38 assist to turnover ratio was lower than backup point guard D.J. Augustin. By comparison, Hinrich is the worse of the two in most major offensive categories. The Bulls need to draft a young point guard who can run an offense smoothly.
The Bulls have a lot of trade assets that can be pair with their No. 16 and No. 19 picks in order to gain a selection in the lottery to go after Ennis. Good players like Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell can be traded so the Bulls can try to select in the top 12. The Bulls also can choose to trade Carlos Boozer, because as of next season his contract will expire.
The team that trades with the Bulls will get two first round picks, and $15 million in cap space for the 2015 free agent class. Teams like the Pelicans, Magic, and 76ers already have young point guards, and will be more willing to trade their pick if they miss out one of the top four freshmen.
The Bulls have no choice but to try and make one of these trades happen. Rose’s health is always going to a question for the Bulls. Last year, the team anticipated, he was going to be healthy for the whole season, and as a result they had to start the second-string point guard the entire season.
The addition of Ennis with a healthy Rose can give the Bulls depth at the point guard position, and options on playing Rose at shooting guard while Ennis plays as the primary ball handler. They can then go small and matchup better with the quicker teams that like to push the pace offensively. Ennis can be the key role player who makes a difference, but the front office has to be aggressive in obtaining talent.