Feb 20, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Tyler Ulis (3) in action during a game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Reed Arena. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
#5: Tyler Ulis
Tyler Ulis has the body of a boy and the brain of a man.
He’s just 5’9″ with a 6’2″ wingspan, but his weight is the real issue. Ulis is a pathetic 150 lbs and will get absolutely abused by NBA point guards. If Ulis had the body of even an average NBA point guard, he’d be a lock to be selected in the top 10 of the entire draft.
Ulis is an incredible floor General. He has the vision and IQ to lead an NBA offense from day one and he almost always makes exactly the right play. His teammates rave about him, and he brings out the best in everyone he shares the floor with. To put it best, his NBADraft.net page described him with the phrase “a leader of men.”
Ulis averaged 17.3 points, 7.0 assists, and 1.5 steals per game at Kentucky despite having to share the floor with Jamal Murray. He knows how to play next to a volume scorer and would learn very quickly how to put Anthony Davis in the best position to succeed.
If he could put on 30-40 lbs he would have an almost identical body to Isaiah Thomas, who is far and away his “best case scenario” comparison. He’s not the scorer Thomas is, but he’s a potentially better passer and has similar agility.
Despite his limited size, Ulis isn’t a bad defender. He has active hands, he can move around screens, and he doesn’t lose his man off the ball. The main issue is that he will have no shot in the NBA on a team which wants to “switch” pick and rolls. His only chance on defense is staying in front of other point guards and preventing penetration, put him on a wing or big man and he has absolutely no chance.
Ulis is a huge risk. His body is so frail he might never contribute meaningful minutes or carve out a role in the pros. What he lacks in strength he makes up for in IQ, but he still won’t make an impact unless he puts on a good 30 lbs.
I say take the chance. Give him a lifetime supply of protein shakes and maybe he’s Isaiah Thomas in a few years.
Next: #4: Playing it Safe