Orlando Pro Summer League standout James Ennis has agreed to a deal with the Miami Heat, according to their own website.
The Miami Heat announced today that they have signed forward James Ennis. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We were excited to draft James a year ago and have been impressed by the growth of his game in Summer League and Puerto Rico, as well as his terrific experience in Australia, leading Perth to a championship,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “We are looking forward to the infusion of energy he will bring to our roster.”
The Heat drafted Ennis 50th overall last season, but did not sign him to a contract. He spent last season in Puerto Rico and Australia. He left the biggest mark in Australia while playing for Perth, finishing third in their MVP voting and making the all-ABL First team. He averaged 21 points and seven rebounds per contest.
Ennis also performed superbly in the Orlando Summer League this season, averaging 17 points and six rebounds while making 54% of his three-point attempts. He may have had the best singular game of the tournament against the Nets, scoring 29 points on 10-12 shooting with seven three-pointers.
This is an really smart deal from the Heat’s perspective. Ennis has real potential as a “3 and D” player, as his wingspan and tremendous athleticism allows him to cause problems for offensive players. If Spoelstra chooses to continue playing his high-pressure defensive system, Ennis should fit right in as a tough wing defender that likes to force turnovers and get out into the open floor.
Given that no details of the contract were released, it’s unknown what kind of guarantee the Heat gave Ennis. Even if he didn’t receive a fully guaranteed salary, I’d be rather surprised if Ennis not only didn’t make the Heat, but also doesn’t play real, tangible minutes for them next season as they look to replace the wing bench production of Ray Allen, Shane Battier, and possibly Michael Beasley. This is absolutely an NBA-caliber role player if he stays within himself, and I’m glad to see that he’ll get his chance next year.