The Rockets began restocking their small forward position on Wednesday, reaching an agreement with James Ennis on a two-year minimum contract, according to two individuals with knowledge of the agreement.
Ennis is considered an outstanding defensive wing who could bring the 3-point shooting to fit in the Rockets style. He has made 35.9 percent of his 3s in his four-year career, slumping last season when he traded to the Pistons at the trade deadline but showing good potential as a catch-and-shoot threat.
Ennis has not been the scorer off the dribble, even against closeouts, that Mbah a Moute has been through his career, but should have no difficulty filling the role as the first player running the floor to the corners. He is also expected could bring greater speed to the Rockets’ fast break.
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He played under Rockets associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik in Memphis, giving the Rockets confidence he would be able to defend with their switching system while taking the toughest wing assignment available when he is on the floor.
“They were real good in recruiting him,” Ennis agent, Scott Nichols, said. “The coach, management, they met with him out in LA. Mike’s been real honest with James about his role. The Rockets makes perfect sense. They lost Trevor Ariza and Luc. There’s a possible starting position there. James plays up and down, multiple positions, long, 3-point shots, it fits perfectly for what the Rockets need, maybe even a better fit than what they had last year because he’s younger with more upside.
“He loves defense and he played for some really defensive-minded coaches with (Miami coach Erik) Spoelstra and (former Memphis coach) David Fizdale. And he played a similar style in New Orleans. It’s a good fit.”
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