Apr 16, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson high fives fans as he walks off the court as the Indiana Pacers beat the Orlando Magic 101-86 at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Finding Your Next Floor General (At 12)

With Jameer Nelson‘s career winding down and the ever-increasing possibility that Dante Exum isn’t available at the fourth pick (Thank Joel Embiid’s foot) and Orlando’s apparent overstated interest in Marcus Smart at four the Magic may wait until the 12th pick in the draft to address their point guard situation. The consensus seems to be that there are only two point guards worth taking at 12; those players being Tyler Ennis and Elfrid Payton. When comparing these players these guys really couldn’t be more different, in fact the Ennis vs Payton debate rehashed the good old pass first point guard vs score first point guard debate that was originally conceived by Rafer Alston vs Nelson. Now without taking a side in that debate (MEERKAT MANOR 4 LYFE) who would be the better fit in Orlando; Ennis or Payton?

Tyler Ennis: Height in Shoes: 6’2.5 Weight: 182 Wingspan: 6’7.25 Max Step Vert: 36 Age: 19

Mar 22, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Tyler Ennis (11) against the Dayton Flyers during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Ennis in this case would be our Rafer Alston equivalent. The first thing I noticed when watching Ennis was his ability to get his team into sets in a timely fashion. For those of us who watched Victor Oladipo struggle to get anything going while double digits still remained on the shot clock, that is a big deal. Ennis has a very high basketball IQ which is particularly noticeable when he runs the pick and roll. He is able to anticipate the defenses rotations and consistently makes the right pass out of the pick and roll. His high basketball IQ is also reflected in his 3.2 A/TO ratio.

Another one of Ennis’ strengths is his ball handling ability. He’s got some fairly advanced dribbles including a nice hesitation dribble that he uses to create his own shot; even if he misses those shots.

One thing i’m not sold on regarding his game is his ability to shoot. Statistically, Ennis graded out about average shooting 35.3 percent from three. Towards the end of the season, however, he fell into a slump shooting only 26.7 percent from deep in February and 32 percent in March. There is also something else very strange that I discovered while doing research on this player; he apparently can’t shoot from the right side of the court. I really have no idea how to explain that one but it’s concerning to say the least.

On the defensive side of the ball Ennis is a giant question mark. On one hand he has good instincts as far as jumping the passing lanes and he has a very respectable size and wingspan for a point guard. On the other hand he isn’t very quick laterally and doesn’t take a very good defensive stance when he’s forced to play up on somebody. I think he’s the tools to become an average defender in the NBA but more athletic point guards like John Wall and Russell Westbrook will put him through the torture chamber. If the Magic pick Ennis I expect him to back up Jameer Nelson, hone his skills, and provide valuable play making off the bench which Orlando desperately needs.

Elfrid Payton: Height in Shoes: 6’3.75 Weight: 185 Wingspan: 6’8 Max Step Vert: 35.5 Age: 20

Mar 21, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns guard Elfrid Payton (2) drives against Creighton Bluejays guard Grant Gibbs (10) in the first half of a men

If Ennis was our Alston, then Payton is our Jameer Nelson (only in a shoot first sense). While many compare Payton to Rajon Rondo I flat-out call that a lazy comparison. Payton is nowhere near the floor general that Rondo is. The first thing that sticks out for Payton, unfortunately, is his jump shot. It’s an abhorrent sight to behold and it’s completely ineffective to boot. I like to use Michael-Kidd Gilchrist as an example of a shot that needs to be incinerated to the ground and built anew, well that’s what Payton is going to have to do with this jumper. Generally speaking it appears as though he just doesn’t have much touch, his free throws and floaters have the same issue his jumper does in that it just comes out of his hand flat.

On the plus side Payton uses a great combination of speed and advanced ball handling to get to the basket with ease. Once at the basket he has the ability to finish with either hand or to create contact and get to the free throw line. He’s a solid playmaker offensively though I do think that part of his game is overrated. He is a very good passer when it comes to pick and roll and drive and dish situations; however I noticed on quite a few occasions when Payton looked to pass the ball to shooters he stared them down while they were open and didn’t make the pass as quickly as he should have. Payton also has a problem with turnovers and while most of that is attributed to trying to do too much, there were also quite a few occasions where he just kind of zoned out, let his dribble get loose and had it stolen.

Defensively this guy is a very good player. He takes a good defensive stance and fights hard over picks and screens. My favorite thing about watching him play defense is just how decisive he is at going for steals on a double team. Once he decides he’s going for it he absolutely screams his way to the ball.

Another area where this player really stands out is in transition. In transition he’s able to show off his athleticism, finishing ability and open court vision.

As far as Payton’s fit on the Magic I think he too would back up Jameer Nelson because the Magic need as much spacing as possible, but if Jameer is getting abused defensively you could see Payton get more minutes than the veteran Nelson. Payton would definitely be best utilized in lineups where Orlando has a stretch power forward in to help create space for him to attack and create.

Which point guard would you pick at 12?

  • Elfrid Payton (68%, 38 Votes)
  • Tyler Ennis (32%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 56

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Tags: Elfrid Payton Jameer Nelson NBA Draft Orlando Magic Tyler Ennis

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