Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dylan Ennis and Villanova's Lack of a True Point Guard

In the past, we have seen the positive and negative consequences of placing great responsibilities on the shoulders of a transfer player, whether it is Taylor King, or Michael Bradley, it's never really an ideal situation. This past summer, with Maalik Wayns declaring for the NBA draft and Ty Johnson transferring, Villanova received two transferring point guards, Tony Chennault from Wake Forest, who was immediately given a waiver to play due to an illness in his family, and Dylan Ennis from Rice, who was required to sit out a year due to NCAA rules. Chennault has been a regular member of the rotation this season, mostly spelling Ryan Arcidiacono (who is probably a shooting guard long term) at point guard, and has been steady, if unspectacular.

Still though, Villanova does not have a true, difference-maker at the point guard position who is currently eligible to play, and that has hurt the team greatly on the offensive end. Enter Dylan Ennis. If you were to look at Ennis' freshman season at Rice from a purely statistical standpoint, one player comes to mind: Kyle Lowry. Obviously, to expect that Ennis performs like Lowry is simply preposterous, but the numbers he put up are reminiscent of a young Kyle Lowry. The fact that at Ennis was able to grab four rebounds a game while averaging about 27 minutes a game is phenomenal for a smallish point guard. Rebounding ability will be especially important for the smaller players on the floor next year, when Mouphtaou Yarou graduates, and it's looking like there might not be much help for Daniel Ochefu. The rebounding ability of smaller players like Lowry and Randy Foye was perhaps the single most important factor that allowed the four guard teams to succeed.

Secondary responsibilities like rebounding and blocked shots (Ennis does that too) aside, the most important job that a point guard has is to handle and distribute the ball. A true point guard on the floor at the same time as Arcidiacono, Darrun Hilliard, and James Bell will allow for more opportunities to get open outside shots quickly, which would reduce the number of long possessions, and theoretically could reduce the number of turnovers. In theory, that's what Dylan Ennis' contribution will be, while also being an offensive threat in his own right. A distributor who can score is necessary for an elite team, so let's hope that Ennis is that. If he's not though, that's fine too.

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