Saying that this has been a tough season for Heat faithful is an understatement.
As Miami enters the final stretch of the season they do so without a confirmed playoff berth, and injured players Josh McRoberts, Shabazz Napier, Chris Bosh and maybe even Dwyane Wade (dependant on the extent of his knee injury).
Ironically, it seems the Miami Heat have been hit with a hurricane of bad luck since the season began, leading many to believe in supernatural circumstance regarding the acquisition of LeBron James just four years ago. That's clearly not the case, but still once can understand a fan's frustration that comes with these events.
However, out of the dark cloud the currently hangs over the Heat has come one bright spot of light recently in the form of James Ennis. It really seems as if he's starting to realize his potential, and what should make Heat fans hopeful is that this may in fact be just the beginning for him.
Before the season began, I like many believed Ennis would be a key part of this Heat team especially after a very successful campaign in Australia. Yet as time passed and he fell out of the rotation, he became something of an afterthought.
With that being said, Ennis has certainly stepped up his play recently in place of his injured teammates. Ennis has found much of his playing time benefit from the left knee contusion Luol Deng suffered at the end of the March, and although much his success comes from unfortunate circumstance there is no denying his play.
Since March 25th's match-up against the Celtics Ennis has averaged 9.8 points, while shooting 46% from the field and grabbing 4.4 boards a game. These are extremely solid numbers especially coming off a long stretch of time without seeing the floor.
What makes the ultra-athletic Ennis effective is his tenacity. Every single time he takes the court Ennis is playing at a controlled 100%, he wants to make a positive impact on his team and if he can do that while dunking over an opposing player he'll try to do just that. As a rookie, it's obvious that Ennis is going to make mistakes, but what makes him different is the fact that on a miss he'll try to make up for his mistake and grab his own rebound, there is no complaining, no sulking, just pure grit.
Thankfully, Ennis' solid play is going recognized. Following yesterday's loss against the Cavaliers, Erik Spoelstra commented positively on the second quarter play, led by James Ennis and fellow rookie Tyler Johnson saying:
"That was probably our best run in the first half, with those guys in the game. We had to mix and match the best we possibly could. We came out with good energy again in the second half; we just weren’t able to sustain it."
If we take into account Ennis' 16 point outburst against the Detroit Pistons four days ago, many positive aspects of his game are made evident. Ennis has tremendous basketball IQ as demonstrated by his ability slash into high percentage scoring zones. He's also a solid three-point shooter when he's found for open looks in transition. At this point in his career Ennis can rely on his athleticism to get to the free throw line, yet his soft shooting touch will definitely be key in furthering his game.
It's obvious Ennis has all the tools at his disposable to be a great player for the Heat, and given the playing time I'm sure he will be able to realize his potential. The Heat are younger than most basketball enthusiasts realize and opponents who fail to take Miami's hidden talent into account will likely fall victim to an Ennis poster in the near future.