James Ennis began and completed the 2021 period with two distinctive, still severe leg injuries.
The 30-calendar year old swingman — who ended the season as the team’s elder statesman, for all intents and uses — was sidelined at the begin of the 12 months with a hamstring damage and recovered to engage in 41 online games while dealing with off-and-on calf soreness.
Even with seven seasons of practical experience on 7 different groups, Ennis was not the team’s most-tenured veteran soon after the departures of Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon in March. But his profession has been total of lessons acquired, those that had been precious to impart to the Magic’s younger main.
To appraise Ennis’ season purely via his on-court performance would be a disservice to his position as a locker room chief, and undoubtedly not indicative of his correct means offered the harm troubles he confronted.
James Ennis proved to be a powerful veteran for the Orlando Magic all over the year. But like substantially of the workforce, he just could not continue to be on the court docket thanks to a nagging calf harm.
Impressively, his on-court docket quantities have been continue to among the some of the most effective of his profession.
Ennis averaged 8.4 details per sport with a 56.6-percent powerful field goal share. He was 1 of the couple of reliable shooters on th workforce, at minimum by proportion, hitting 43.3-% of his exterior pictures.
His genuine capturing share of 61.3-per cent was his next-most effective behind his 2016 figure, albeit on a significantly scaled-down blend of outside the house shots. Ennis also received to the line at the next-most effective rate for his job, indicating he served a pivotal part in generating quick details for an anemic Magic offense.
In addition, Ennis’ 43.3-percent mark from outside of the arc ranked in the 94th percentile among players at his posture, for each Dunks and Threes. The Magic relied on him as a person of the team’s most effective outside the house shooters.
He also averaged close to profession highs in rebounds, steals, and assists, and played his signature manufacturer of protection that has gained him a reputation as one particular of the league’s most responsible defenders.
When Ennis started out his season in the Magic’s eighth activity, he was asked to play very important minutes as the team’s only accurate tiny forward. The extra enjoying time could have been a contributing element in Ennis’ damage struggles, although he has had issues being healthy through his occupation.
Yet another contributing factor could have been Ennis’ play on the court docket, largely his fearless nose for the ball, which he displayed frequently:
This possession showcases the tiny factors Ennis does to assistance his staff acquire, quite a few of which do not demonstrate up on the stat sheet. He senses the rhythm of the offensive possession, shrewdly employs a pump phony to open up a lane, and results in to find his teammate, Khem Birch.
The Magic’s starting off lineup was simply superior with Ennis on the floor. And it was distinct how substantially he served maintain items together.
Orlando posted a -3.8 internet score with James Ennis on the floor, the fourth-very best total mark on the workforce driving Otto Porter, Michael Carter-Williams and Aaron Gordon. The Magic’s trio of Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon posted their 2nd-ideal total internet score (-2.3 details per 100 possessions) with Ennis as a fourth player. That trailed only Chasson Randle in significantly much less minutes — 98 with Ennis compared to 30 with Randle.
These are all comparative numbers, of program. The Magic struggled all through the period. But the potential for Ennis to assist the staff get better was ever-present. And lacking most of the year.
He is also one particular of the very best offensive rebounders for his dimensions. Ennis rebounded 4.5-per cent of the Magic’s skipped discipline aim tries this time.
In a lot more than one particular way, he is a prototypical Steve Clifford player — he offers highest hard work on protection and performs for his teammates. The gap that his talent set filled and the sturdy match involving player and mentor definitely contributed to Ennis’ achievements this time.
Just one nuanced illustration was his capacity to develop quick baskets off-ball as a cutter, which we highlighted as an offensive key for the Magic at the All-Star split.
Ennis displays a cerebral understanding of how to lead in any staff process. In this article he results in an quick attempt as the lone gentleman in the “dunker’s spot”, generally a relegation for the fifth person to increase spacing together the perimeter:
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Clever, James Ennis’ male, clearly falls asleep, but that highlights the issue even additional. Players do not make this lower in the function Ennis was requested to play, in its place normally opting to relaxation for a possession. Good was caught off guard by Ennis’ instincts.
James Ennis is a single of the handful of gamers league-wide who doesn’t just take possessions off, either mentally or physically.
Given the complications from personal injury, Ennis performed as nicely as the Magic could have hoped. It would have been intriguing to see what his ceiling would have been had he been able to keep wholesome for seventy-two game titles.
He definitely was a value on his $3.3 million 1-yr deal, offering not only veteran practical experience but a much-needed offensive skillset for this Orlando group. Ennis enters the 2021 offseason as an unrestricted no cost agent with a $6.3 million cap hold, and it would seem probably he will garner curiosity across the league at that determine.
Ennis is mentioned to want a long-term deal far too soon after bouncing all over from staff to staff so a lot. One particular factor is very clear, Ennis is someone who can help a group earn.
Jeff Weltman and the Magic’s management workforce have built a concerted choice to revamp the roster and begin a rebuild, so they may not hold the identical level of interest in resigning Ennis as they would if the workforce was nonetheless vying for playoff contention.
No matter, Ennis is and will be a single of the very best discounts across the league, a savvy and altruistic contributor that tends to make any team much better. Even with his limited participate in this time, the Magic unquestionably benefited from his existence.
And even with the indicator that the Magic will prioritize youth this offseason to complement their previously youthful core, they’ll probable have a challenging time allowing Ennis walk away.