In April I wrote about James Ennis' resurgence. After a shaky start to the 2014-2015 season he seemed to be putting things together, even going on a solid run in late March where he consistently put up very good statistics. As the season came to a close, I was looking forward to how Ennis would perform in Summer League, and had little doubt that he would be a returning member of the Miami Heat this season.
Unfortunately, I may have been slightly premature in my judgement.
Ennis was extremely disappointing in his four appearances at the Las Vegas Summer League where he shot just 26% from the field and missed every three point shot attempted (0-14). This is particularly surprising, considering a lot of his made looks came from the perimeter during the season.
Regardless of his statistical woes, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel reported that the Heat have agreed to plans to have Ennis train at the P3 Peak Performance Project train facility in Santa Barbara, California. Additionally, he explained that Ennis' agent had spoken with both Erik Spoelstra and Heat GM Andy Elisburg following the Summer League and did not get the feeling that Ennis was in any imminent danger of being dealt or waived.
With that being said, the situation is still concerning, though it appears as if tendinitis is to blame for his playing woes according to Heat Summer League coach Dan Craig, who said:
"He hasn’t felt great the past few months. Tendinitis can be really crippling when you’re an athletic player. Even when you’re shooting, it can affect everything. Right now, he’s got to be focused on getting healthy. When he gets back, he’ll be working on a little bit of everything."
Whatever the case, if the organization isn't worried about it then I guess it is to be assumed Ennis will be back with the Heat once August 1st comes along, guaranteeing half of his $845,000 contract. Moreover, it's not as if Ennis doesn't know he didn't perform to his potential saying:
"It definitely bothers me. This is the worst summer league I’ve played. I played better my first year coming from college and from overseas. I know I’ve gotten better, but I’m not proving it. That’s what gets me upset. It seems like I haven’t gotten better. I have no answers right now. I don’t have a clue [why this is happening].
I’m probably overthinking things. I’m probably not playing with a clear mind. My mind is cluttered, so it’s taking away [things] I’m good at."
Ennis is still a very capable NBA player, one terrible Summer League doesn't weigh heavily against his actual NBA success.
Presently, I don't see a reason to part with Ennis, even if it was to free up space for a player like Joshua Smith. It would probably be more beneficial to get rid of Henry Walker, who's "gunning" style of play would likely prove detrimental to the Heat's new style of offense.
Ennis is an ultra-athletic machine and the Heat should look to continue molding him this season, even if he will be playing limited minutes behind Luol Deng and Justise Winslow. Hopefully this injury's adverse affect on him is just an isolated incident as Ennis' talents should have a place with the "New-Look" Miami Heat.