76ers

Nomadic James Ennis eager to unleash 'Ennis the Menace'

Nomadic James Ennis eager to unleash 'Ennis the Menace'

CAMDEN, N.J. — James Ennis has lived a nomadic basketball life. At 29 years old, the Sixers’ wing has experience playing at three colleges, for the Perth Wildcats in Australia, Piratas de Quebradillas in Puerto Rico, and for six NBA teams.

Back with the Sixers after turning down opportunities to earn more money elsewhere this summer, Ennis has a secure spot in the team’s rotation and a lucid understanding of his role. That’s not something he takes for granted.

“When you know your role, it makes it easier for the player,” he said Thursday afternoon. “I know my role coming into this year so I’ll be a lot better and I’m going to be more comfortable. You guys will be able to see ‘Ennis the Menace’ this year.”

How exactly does Ennis define that role? It's pretty simple.

“Hard-nosed player, knock down shots, guard anybody,” he said.

Though he showed all those qualities in his short stint with the Sixers last season — 18 regular-season and 11 playoff games following general manager Elton Brand’s bargain of a February trade with the Houston Rockets — Ennis thinks he’s capable of more. He bolstered a lean Sixers bench in the playoffs, averaging 7.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while providing competent perimeter defense.

Ennis’ three-point shooting numbers, however, did drop from his career average of 35.7 percent. He only hit 30.6 percent of his three-point shots in the regular season and 28.1 percent in the playoffs. The Sixers will hope he can improve in that area following the departure of sharpshooter JJ Redick. 

Ennis said he’s going to “hang his hat” on defense this year, which does not make him unique on a Sixers team that’s leaned into that organizational philosophy this offseason — along with a love of size and length. Even at 6-foot-7, there’s a good chance Ennis is the second-shortest player among the top seven in the Sixers’ rotation. He thinks he can handle just about any assignment.

“I’m versatile — I can guard one through four,” he said. “Even on the switches, I can get down and guard a point guard. And I can chase guys off a screen and stuff like that.”

This summer, Ennis has been training in Marina Del Rey, California, working on his “overall game.” He said trainer Drew Hanlen is among those helping him.

That work off the court hasn’t attracted much attention, but Ennis’ comment that the Sixers are “going to walk to the Finals in the East” drew plenty of fanfare.

While he acknowledged Thursday that the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks are among the teams that will pose challenges to the Sixers, he again didn’t back down from the remark.

“Obviously there are a lot of good teams,” he said. “I’m very confident in this group. We have a lot of talent … I’m going to continue to believe in this team.”

The future beyond this upcoming season is, yet again, uncertain for Ennis. He’s on a two-year, veteran minimum deal, but he has a player option for Year 2. 

He reiterated that his desire to return to Philadelphia for this season trumped the extra cash available to him.

“I wanted to come back here,” he said. “I had a couple of teams offering me more, but it’s about the long term. I really wanted to come back to Philly and play with Ben [Simmons], Joel [Embiid] and all those guys — Mike Scott, Tobias [Harris]."

Does that mean Ennis hopes to be a Sixer for the long haul?

“I wish,” he said. 

With the laugh of someone who knows the vagaries of professional basketball well, Ennis then added, “That’s all up to Elton.”



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Uh Oh: Stephen A. Smith is predicting HUGE things for Sixers this season

Uh Oh: Stephen A. Smith is predicting HUGE things for Sixers this season

Stephen A. Smith's track record of predicting things is suspect to say the least.

So it's with great trepidation that Philadelphia 76ers fans should watch the below clip in which he predicts an NBA Finals appearance for Brett Brown's club this coming season.

Smith made the prediction on ESPN's First Take on Friday morning while sitting alongside NBA legend Magic Johnson (the joke about tampering with Giannis may have been the highlight of the segment).

"The Philadelphia 76ers are going to the NBA Finals," Smith declares. "I'm going to defer to my man Jalen Rose when he points out that Boston arguably has the best perimeter shooting team. We can't ignore that. Toronto lost Kawhi, ain't nothing to discuss. The Greek Freak, as phenomenal as he is, the combo of not having a reliable perimeter shot combined with Malcolm Brogdon being in Indiana..."

"My attitude is, I don't like the fact that Philly lost JJ Redick, that's a big loss to me," Smith continues. "The fact that Boston no longer has Al Horford and the Sixers do, not only somebody to pair with Embiid but to spell him whenever he's out. I'm going to believe Ben Simmons has been working on his shot. I'm going to believe Tobias Harris doesn't have to worry about co-existing with Jimmy Butler and that's a plus. I'm going to believe Josh Richardson can play at both ends of the floor..."

"I'm a little suspect on their bench, but I think the Sixers are going to be playing in June."

On the bright side for Philly fans, it's not like Smith is making some bold proclamation here. FiveThirtyEight's prediction model actually gives the Sixers the best chances of making the Finals of any team in the NBA given the East's weaker make up than the West. In fact, they give the Sixers almost twice as good a chance of doing so than the next closest Eastern contender the Bucks (54% vs. 27%).

So Stephen A. isn't going out on a limb, but it never feels great when he picks your squad in anything.

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Sixers tease new red Statement jerseys that differ from last season's

76ers_red_statement_jersey.jpg
@ChrisHeck76

Sixers tease new red Statement jerseys that differ from last season's

The Sixers' Statement Edition jerseys last year were the red uniforms that said "Sixers" across the front in an interesting script. It appears those jerseys will be different for the 2019-2020 season.

Chris Heck, President of the Sixers and Mr. #OnBrand, tweeted out an image of the new jerseys that look quite similar to last season's but instead of "Sixers" across the front they have the familiar "Phila" in script.

Give it a look below:

The jerseys also have the familiar stars down the side of the jersey. The team hasn't made an official announcement just yet so it's unclear what other details may have changed from season to season.

This Statement Edition will join the two regular jerseys, Icon Edition (standard blue) and Association Edition (standard white), alongside the recently unveiled Classic Edition jerseys that feature a throwback to the 70s look with that very interesting "Seventy Sixers" across the front and Ben Simmons sitting in a dope old-school car.

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