The Rockets lost two perimeter defenders this offseason and now must look to replace that value in the free agency or trade market.
The Rockets are in the middle of an interesting offseason for the franchise. The original goal was to bring everyone back from last year’s team and “run it back,” but with a couple of players jumping ship, the focus now has to change.
Now, Houston needs to find a way to replace the value brought by Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. The team has expressed interest in Carmelo Anthony, who could solve the offensive side of this equation. Melo, though, is not a good defender, so the Rockets will have to look elsewhere for someone to guard the perimeter.
In comes James Ennis. The 6’7 small forward is entering his fifth year in the NBA and is still a free agent. The Rockets have expressed their interest in him and even met with Ennis at the start of free agency. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle talked about him being a possibility in an article yesterday talking about the loss of Luc Mbah a Moute.
Luc Mbah a Moute’s departure causes Rockets to scramble https://t.co/9NVr38wh8i
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 10, 2018
Feigen also said that Ennis is expected to decide tomorrow which team he will be joining for next season. He should definitely choose the Rockets, as he will play valuable minutes for the team much like Luc did.
Why he fits well in Houston
There are many reasons why James Ennis would fit well with the Rockets. First off, he is an elite defender who can guard the perimeter well and lock down opponents. When you search for his defense on YouTube, the first video that comes up is Ennis playing lockdown defense against our very own James Harden. Check out the video by DefenseWinsChampionships:
Ennis is also a very respectable 3-point shooter. For his career, he is 36% shooter from that distance, taking around 2-3 per game. That percentage is actually higher than Ariza’s career number and about at what Mbah a Moute shot this past season.
James had a down year shooting the 3-ball, but mostly when he was traded to the Pistons. That wasn’t a great fit for the athletic wingman, and it showed in his stats. He averaged more points in Detroit, but his efficiency took a hit.
Ennis also should come fairly cheap. Something near the minimum is about what he’ll get paid but he has the ability to outwork that contract, especially in a system like Houston where Ennis will get plenty of run.
Let’s hope that James Ennis decides to come to the Rockets tomorrow when he chooses his team!