CHICAGO — Upon hearing Steve Nash’s name mentioned, Tyler Ennis’ eyes lit up.
As with any point guard hoping to make his mark in the NBA, Ennis has admired Nash’s crafty playmaking that ensured a future Hall of Fame nod, two MVP awards and a fourth-place standing on the league’s all-time assists list. But Ennis’ affection for Nash goes beyond his skillset.
After starring at Syracuse through one season, Ennis credited Nash’ role as the general manager of the Canadian men’s basketball team spurring his growth. Hence, why Ennis gushed about the Lakers possibly drafting him.
“Nash is definitely one of the best point guards who played the game and he’s one of my favorite players,” Ennis said. “To go to a team and learn from him would be amazing for my career.”
It’s unclear if the Lakers are interested in Ennis. He’s considered a top point guard for his maturity as a scorer playmaker. But most mock drafts peg him just as the 10th selection and he isn’t considered an elite athlete. The Lakers would prefer taking other point guards, such as Dante Exum (Australia) or Marcus Smart (Australia). Should the Lakers fall into eighth or ninth place in the NBA draft lottery, however, Ennis could become an option.
The Lakers hope to upgrade at point guard because of the uncertainty surrounding Nash’s back injury that kept him sidelined for 67 games. Yet, the Lakers plan to keep him as a reserve and mentor. Nash’s $9.8 million salary would be removed from the books in one year as opposed to three if the Lakers waived him through the stretch provision.
“He’s a hard worker. Whenever you have hard work and put in the time, it’ll end up paying off,” Ennis said of Nash. “His time with the Lakers isn’t how people expected. But if he’s healthy, he can help turn their season around.”
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