James Ennis shines in Orlando Summer League

Morne de Klerk

He was already a training camp lock after spending a year overseas, now the 2013 Heat draftee is shining in the NBA Summer League as he is hopeful to make the team this season.

The Miami Heat finished the Orlando Summer League at a 1-4 record. Which isn't encouraging, but also isn't their goal. They've been very pleased with the progress of some players, most notably their 2013 second round draft pick.

James Ennis was drafted by the Miami Heat last season in the second round but never found his way to the roster. He vowed to be there this season.

Now, after the departure of LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers, James Ennis becomes an even more important piece for the Miami Heat.

Last year, Ennis spent time playing in Puerto Rico and Australia. Ennis averaged 21.2 points a game in Australia's National Basketball League. He led his squad to a championship and finished third in MVP voting.

We’re very optimistic about James. He exceeded what we expected. He should have been MVP in the league [in Australia]. -Chet Kammerer

In the Orlando Summer League, Ennis played in 4 of the 5 games and led the Heat with 17.2 PPG -- more than Justim Hamilton and Shabazz Napier, who both hope to be on the Heat's roster as well. Ennis shot 52% from the field and from the three-point arc. It was highlighted by a 29 point effort over the Nets which show James light it up from downtown.

He's been the highlight of the Heat in Orlando, and he's primed to be an asset for Miami. If you haven't watched much of Ennis yet, he has a bit of James Jones in him as a shooter, with a quick release and a sharp shot. But what goes beyond that is Ennis is a canon in the open floor. He's got hops, and he likes to run.

Shabazz Napier has had a rough start to the Summer League play. He's had poor shooting and plenty of turnovers. Napier had averaged 9.2 PPG and 4.6 APG -- but he also has 4.8 TPG. Napier will likely be the back-up point guard for the Heat this season behind Norris Cole.

Meanwhile, Justin Hamilton has averaged 13.8 PPG and 6.8 RPG and has played solid. Hamilton seems like a player the Heat are investing in. He has continued to show that he can hit the deep shot, and he is learning how to defend at the NBA level.

Long shot Andre Dawkins was fourth on the team in scoring at 12.3 PPG. But it was the play of Tyler Johnson that has been the biggest surprise. Johnson, a guard, has shown the ability to get into the lane, create, defend, and hustle. He seems like a player poised to be on the training camp roster, if not in Miami, certainly somewhere. Johnson has been an exciting player to watch, averaging 12.8 PPG in his four games.

Miami begins the Las Vegas Summer League on Saturday night against the Houston Rockets. They'll then play on Monday and Tuesday against the Clippers and Wizards.

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