There is nobody who could have fell more perfectly into Toronto's lap in the LB Draft then Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis. While Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez held down the fort for the Raptors in their playoff run this year, Lowry is a unrestricted free agent, and all signs point to Vasquez becoming a RFA. There's a chance that both could be back in 2014-15, but as the famous Canadian saying goes "better safe than sorry, eh?"
At 6' 2.5" he's an average size for a ball handler, but with a 6' 7.5" wingspan it'll certainly be of help defensively as he transitions out of Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone.
Ennis has been called out for his athleticism, but not everybody can play like they've eaten two dozen pixie sticks and then were shot out of a cannon (see: Wroten, Tony). He was one of the coolest and most composed players in the country this year, and he showed that in his long-range buzzer beater over Pittsburgh back in February.
He's not a prolific scorer, but a solid shooter when called upon to do so, and a real solid floor general.
Ennis' excellent feel for the game and anticipation skills show up on the defensive end of the floor too, as he generates a good amount of steals (2.4 per-40). Part of this has to do with the fact that Syracuse plays exclusively in a zone, but his solid wingspan (6-5), quick hands and exceptional instincts also have plenty to do with that.
Ennis is not a prolific or efficient scorer as we'll discuss below, but he does show some promise as a perimeter shooter, which bodes well for his NBA prospects. He's proven capable of making jumpers with his feet set or off the dribble, and has the type of mechanics and touch that lead you to believe he'll continue to improve in time.
Another aspect of Ennis' game that breeds optimism is his demeanor and the confidence he displays. He shows tremendous poise and maturity for his age, as he never looks rattled and seems to elevate his game when his team needs him the most. He took all of Syracuse's big shots this season, leading to some very memorable moments (and some less), but nevertheless proved that he likes the spotlight, has a killer instinct, and won't back down from a challenge.
I reached out to Adam Francis of SBN's Raptors HQ before my selection for a little help from someone with the great white north's best interests at heart. When I told him Ennis was still on the board, he seemed happy enough to springboard into Niagara Falls.
Ennis, Ennis, Ennis!
Yep, if he's still there at 20, snatch him up. Toronto has major questions at the 1 and need some insurance in case Lowry and Vasquez jet. The good thing about Ennis is even if the aforementioned two do return, it's still a solid pick as Vasquez and Lowry can both play the 2 as scoring options, so could fit with Ennis.
Maybe Ennis never becomes an All-Star, but it's hard not to see him at the very least being a very solid option to run a team and at 20, that's great value.
Oh, and he's Canadian so from a PR perspective, it's a slam dunk.
Derek has the Oklahoma City Thunder up tomorrow.