Orlando Summer League is over and the Miami Heat are atop the standings, along with Oklahoma City. The summer league team has attempted to look as close to the real thing as possible, with Dan Craig coaching for an up-tempo style and utilizing athleticism the best he can.
James Ennis, the Miami Heat’s second-round draft pick, has stood out in terms of athleticism. The 6’7”, 200 pound prospect from Long Beach State University projects as a shooting guard or small forward in the NBA. So he could play power forward for the Heat, right? Just kidding. But seriously, this dude can fly.
Chet Kammerer, Vice President of Player Personnel with the Miami Heat, said this of Ennis’ size.
“When we talk about length, that’s what we talking about. The physical build is attractive to us.”
Let’s see what else the experts are saying about the Heat’s latest project.
From Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report:
“Though Ennis lacks the handle to shake east and west off the dribble, he can attack the basket moving north and south. And when he gets there, he’s reliable, efficient and flexible.Ennis has the athleticism and springs to finish over defenders, but he also has the body control and dexterity to finish around them.”
This is from the scouting report by Joe Treutlein of DraftExpress:
“Ennis is at his best finishing at the basket, something he does very well both in the half court in transition. Possessing great leaping ability, excellent length, and no hesitance to throw the ball down with power both when open and in traffic, Ennis is a very dangerous player around the rim, and one that could become even more impressive as he’d see his offensive role become more compact at the next level.”
Also from his report: “… his spot-up three-point shooting develops is likely the most important factor to his short and long-term success. Ennis shot a respectable 35.8% as a senior from behind the arc (and 35.0% as a junior)…”
During summer league play in Orlando, Ennis shot 35.7 percent from three-point range, which matches his above-35-percent clip he enjoyed in college.
Ennis finished second on the team during summer league play with 47 points, second on the team in rebounds with 14 and had the most steals with six.
USA Today NBA writer Sam Amick said this of Ennis:
“Ennis has a tremendous wingspan and good athleticism and could make a team, which is all you can ask.”
He certainly has a reasonable chance of sticking. But the Heat are going for a third-straight title and, if they feel his roster spot would be better utilized on a veteran, the Heat could stash him in Europe.
Unlike any of the other players on Miami’s summer league roster, they could send him to Europe without using up a roster spot because they have his draft rights.
The Heat would have to use one of its 15 roster spots to keep anyone else on the summer league team.The D-League is also an option, but any player in the developmental league would count against the 15-player roster limit. The Heat are now sole affiliates with the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Skyforce, which could serve as an advantage.
Ennis certainly fits everything the Heat are looking for with his length and potential shooting ability. After a slow start to summer league play, he stepped it up and showed some promise.
He told the Palm Beach Post
“In the beginning, I was kind of nervous,” said Ennis, who finished 2-of-7 for 11 points in a 69-59 loss to the Utah Jazz. “It was my first time at this level, so I had to adjust to the speed. But once the second half came, I started getting comfortable and I just let it fly.”
That’s what the Heat are looking for. Let it fly, Ennis. Let it fly.