Sixers’ James Ennis is Working on Earning a Long-term Spot
PHILADELPHIA -- The 2019 NBA off-season didn't seem to have gone as planned for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Looking back at the results, that might not be the worst thing for them. Sure, they lost their playoff savior in Jimmy Butler, who wanted to take his talents to South Beach with the Miami Heat -- but Elton Brand and the Sixers front office did a great job of turning a bad situation to potentially a better one.
As we know, though, it's not all about star power in the NBA. A super team has the best chances of winning it all, but experience and depth are what makes good teams great in case something goes wrong at the top of the depth chart.
The Sixers know too well what happens when their best players aren't able to compete. They found out first-hand last season that losing a player of Joel Embiid's caliber can make all of the difference in a series or a season. That's why the Sixers are ensuring they have reliable depth on board this time around.
What Brand and the rest of the front office is also trying to do though is ensure that team chemistry is a lot better in 2019. Last season, the Sixers were continually dealing with changes on the roster, making it difficult for players and head coach Brett Brown to adjust. So instead of relying on mid-season trades, the Sixers attempted to keep a good chunk of their starting and bench core intact to continue to build on-court chemistry.
One of the Sixers more 'under the radar' type of moves was bringing back veteran forward, James Ennis. Last season, Ennis only appeared in 18 regular-season games for the Sixers as he played a majority of the year with the Houston Rockets. The acquisition of Ennis didn't exactly lift the Sixers spirits, but he played an essential role in the playoffs.
Now, he's looking to not only improve on the stat sheets for the Sixers in 2019 -- but he's also looking to take on a mentoring role for the younger guys such as Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle. Ennis is hoping that in the process, he lands himself a long-term deal with the Sixers so he can be a part of what Brand, Brown, and the Sixers are building.
"It’s about the long term," Ennis said while speaking to the media on Thursday. "I wanted to come back to Philly and play with Ben, Joel, and all the guys.” Similar to Mike Scott's situation, the Sixers didn't have to do much convincing to get Ennis back in Philly. As a matter of fact, they didn't even have to offer him the most money.
When Ennis signed back with the Sixers a couple of months back, it was revealed shortly after that he had multiple offers on the table -- and some of them were more wealthy contracts than what the Sixers had to offer.
But after contributing to taking the NBA Finals Champions to seven games being just seconds away from the Eastern Conference Finals, Ennis wasn't ready to move on. The team preached the saying "run it back," and Ennis inked a one-year deal to try and make it happen.
At 29-years-old, Ennis is mentally finished with bouncing around from team to team. With just five seasons under his belt, Ennis has worn six different uniforms. He played two stints in Miami, two in Memphis, and one in New Orleans, Detroit, and Houston. Now, he wants to earn himself something long-term with the 76ers. When asked about the possibility of that happening on Thursday, Ennis responded "I wish. That's up to Elton."