Training camp is happening for the Houston Rockets and one new role player, in particular, is impressing.
This offseason, the Houston Rockets lost wing defenders Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. They were both key parts of the defense last season and the team had to go into free agency looking for a replacement piece.
In comes James Ennis.
The journeyman signed a two-year, $4 million deal with the Rockets this summer and has some big shoes to fill. That doesn’t seem to be a problem so far, though, as he has caught the eye of his teammates so far in training camp. His effort and motor are central to his game and he should be a great addition for the team this year.
One of the players to talk highly of him so far is James Harden. Here’s what he had to say about Ennis:
James Harden with high praise for James Ennis, and also echoes the same sentiments of putting personal goals aside for the betterment of the team. pic.twitter.com/gNHGhGQQSh
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) September 27, 2018
James Ennis is a perfect fit for the system the Rockets are trying to put together. He can run the floor and defend as well as shoot 3s from the corner pretty decently. He’s already making connections with teammates and looks like someone that Chris Paul and James Harden can throw alley-oops to this season:
Harden to Ennis on the break. pic.twitter.com/lliFhnBEsm
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) September 26, 2018
It will likely be between Ennis and Gordon for who starts at the small forward position this season (barring a trade for a big name player that has been rumored). Gordon brings more offense while Ennis brings more of what Ariza brought last season. He can defend multiple positions and shoot the 3.
While I see Gordon ultimately winning the starting role, having Ennis off the bench will be a great weapon for the Rockets in the regular season and in the playoffs. He can be a younger version of Ariza that brings an intensity that has made an impression on many of his teammates.
James Ennis has created a buzz in the first couple of days of Rockets camp. “Having energy is a talent,” Mike D’Antoni says. They love how hard Ennis plays and runs the floor. Rockets quietly don’t believe that Ennis is much of a downgrade, if at all, from Trevor Ariza.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) September 27, 2018
Can James Ennis have the same level of impact that Ariza had during his years in Houston? We’ll have to wait and see, but he’s looking good so far.