Tyler Ennis was traded to the Houston Rockets last month in exchange for Michael Beasley. While many fans believe that Milwaukee won the deal by getting a veteran capable of scoring, the change of scenery could be the exact opportunity Ennis needs to thrive at the NBA level. This will be Ennis’ third team in as many seasons since being drafted out of Syracuse 18th overall back in 2014.
During his rookie season, Ennis appeared in limited action for the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks largely due to their crowded back courts. He spent a lot of time with the D-League Bakersfield Jam to help get more basketball experience under his belt. When point guard Michael Carter-Williams went down with an injury last season, Ennis was given more minutes and even started 7 games. He finished the season appearing in 46 games, averaging 4.5 points including a 15 point performance against the Orlando Magic.
The Houston Rockets are off to a 3-1 start so far this pre-season. Their lone loss came on Saturday night when they lost in double-OT to the visiting Memphis Grizzlies. Ennis put on his finest performance with 16 points and 6 rebounds. This is definitely a positive sign for a Rockets team coming off a disappointing 41-41 season. The Dwight Howard drama is officially gone and new Head Coach Mike D’Antoni is ready to take the lead over this young squad. The fast-paced offence can definitely be beneficial for the Rockets to improve in the Western Conference standings.
Defensive-minded Patrick Beverley will likely be the starting guard alongside all-star James Harden who will be the primary ball handler. However, Ennis is showing that he can be that reliable floor general off the bench. In D’Antoni’s fast pace system, Ennis will be expected to push the ball and make plays in the paint. His pre-season performance will be crucial to not only earn minutes for the upcoming season but to see how D’Antoni manages the line-ups. Ennis will be fighting for playing time with veterans Pablo Prigioni and Eric Gordon. Gordon had signed a 4 year deal but is coming off a finger injury that caused him to miss almost half of last season. At 39 years of age, it is unlikely that Prigioni will suit up every night. This is where Ennis will have to take advantage and show that he is capable of making sound decisions and getting his teammates quality shots. There are plenty of players on the Rockets capable of scoring so increasing his assists numbers is crucial if he is to be a consistent player in the rotation.
Born and raised in Brampton Ontario, Ennis is a Canadian who has made it to the NBA level. From 2012-2013, he represented Team Canada in the FIBA tournaments and helped the nation capture the Bronze medal in the U-18 Americas Championship. Now at 22 years of age, Ennis is looking to thrive at the NBA level. Nothing comes easy and he will have to put in the work to improve his game but the Houston Rockets could be the perfect fit. Their next pre-season game will be on October 19th when they visit the Texas rival Dallas Mavericks. Good luck to Tyler Ennis!