The Miami Heat did not have a draft pick this year, but traded for the rights to Long Beach State's James Ennis in a transaction with the Atlanta Hawks for a future second round draft pick. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported the deal first.
"We were happy to get into the draft," said HEAT President Pat Riley. "We feel that James Ennis, with his size and athleticism, has a huge upside and someone we hope can develop into a high-quality NBA player."
Ennis was selected with the 50th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Because he is a second-round selection, the Heat are not required to tender Ennis a guaranteed contract and thus have the option of stashing him overseas for a year. Miami's 2012 second-round acquisition, LSU center Justin Hamilton, spent this past season abroad.
Vice President of Player Personnel Chet Kammerer apparently scouted Ennis several times. A Draft Express article on the 6-foot-7 player from June 12 labeled Ennis as a raw player, having only played Division 1 college basketball for two years. The article -- written by Joe Treutlein -- mentioned Ennis' ability to finish around the rim as his biggest strength, and he measured as having a 6-foot-11 wingspan. He shot 36 percent from the 3-point line his senior year and shot nearly five times per game, so he could emerge with an NBA niche if he continues to work on his shot.
Treutlin noted that the 22-year-old Ennis improved his defensive game greatly during his senior year. He has the size and lateral quickness to switch with other players on pick-and-rolls, a skill that could come in handy with the Heat's defensive scheme. Treutlin added that Ennis' off-ball defense was good, and that he could get into the passing lanes and create fast-break opportunities.
On the surface, it appears Ennis looks like a player who would fit in with the Heat's style. He's athletic, can shoot from beyond the arc and improved his defense. But second-round draft picks rarely amount to anything of consequence in the NBA, and it remains to be seen if Pat Riley will leave a spot for Ennis on the roster. For now, Ennis will have to impress in the summer league games and possibly earn a training camp invite.
Here's what ESPN's Chad Ford had to say in his NBA Draft analysis for each team (Insider only) about Ennis:
The Heat traded into the second round to grab Ennis, a long, athletic wing who was one of the sleepers in the draft. I was really impressed with his play at the Brooklyn workout and think that, in the right environment, he has a chance to stick. A solid pick at No. 50.
The Heat detailed his collegiate accomplishments after officially announcing the trade:
Ennis appeared in 67 collegiate games for Long Beach State during his junior and senior seasons and averaged 13.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.67 steals, 1.03 blocks and 31.0 minutes while shooting 49.3 percent from the field, 35.4 percent from three-point range and 78.8 percent from the foul line. Despite playing just two seasons for the 49ers, he finished fifth all-time in free throw percentage, fifth in total blocks (69) and ninth in total rebounds (582). Prior to his stint at LBSU, he played two junior college seasons, first at Oxnard College and then at Ventura College, where he totaled 1,053 points, including scoring in double-figures in 48-of-52 games.
During his senior season at Long Beach State, Ennis appeared in 33 games (32 starts) averaging 16.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.76 steals, 1.30 blocks and 33.1 minutes while shooting 49.1 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from three-point range and 83.4 percent from the foul line. He ranked first on the team in scoring average and rebounds per game. He scored in double-figures in each of his 33 games, including a 29-point, 15-rebound double-double vs. BYU-Hawaii on December 15. He capped his senior year as the Big West Conference Player of the Year.