Philadelphia 76ers: Elton Brand robbed the Rockets of James Ennis

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

While James Ennis may never be a marquee player, the 6-foot-7 journeyman may have finally found a home with the Philadelphia 76ers, thanks to Elton Brand.

The Philadelphia 76ers are 10-3 in the James Ennis-era, and if they can secure that elusive W against the Boston Celtics tonight, that number will rise to 14.

That’s a pretty impressive mark.

So far this season, the 76ers have only gone 10-3 over a 13 game stretch two other times, from November 7-21st, and from November 16th through December 12th (yes, they overlap).

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But how could this be? Surely Ennis isn’t the only reason why the Sixers are winning; he’s only averaging 5.6 points in 15.3 minutes of action a night.

Well, yes, the main reason the Sixers have been playing well post-All-Star break has to be the addition of Tobias Harris, but that doesn’t mean what Ennis has brought to the table doesn’t hold value.

Far from it, in fact.

With Landry Shamet now an LA Clipper, Ennis has assumed his role as the Sixers’ top scorer off the bench, while also being arguably the team’s most versatile bench defender, capable of matching up effectively against shooting guards, small forwards, and even point guards on occasion.

In a switch-heavy system like the one deployed by Brett Brown, based on spots more so than traditional ‘positions’, that has value.

Ennis has also provided surprise value as a glass crasher, averaging 3.3 rebounds a night despite standing 6-foot-7 and playing ‘shooting guard’ for much of his minutes.

And to think Ennis’ playing time was by no means guaranteed when he initially joined the team, as Brown instead wanted to hold a ‘three-man tournament’ with Jonathon Simmons and Furkan Korkmaz to see who would win his backup wing position.

Now that position is all but locked up by the Long Beach State grad, and really, that’s how it should be.

Unlike Simmons, who’s one of the worst offensive players in the entire league, and plays the game with a very unorthodox style, Ennis’ playing style can only be described as plug-and-play, making him a solid fit on pretty much any roster in the league. Sure, he isn’t the best shooter, the most athletic, or most instinctive player in the league, but when Ennis is on the court, he makes everyone around him better.

Need proof? Check out the Sixers’ recent win over the Charlotte Hornets, where the 28-year-old winger scored all 14 of the team’s bench points while knocking down 2-4 from downtown.

Or how about Ennis’ momentum flipping steal against the Indiana Pacers at the end of the third that ultimately lead to a 34-19 run in the fourth?

In eight games of action in March, Ennis has scored in double figures three times, while never logging more than 22 minutes of action.

That’s certainly with $1.62 million a season, and the rights to swap second-round picks in 2021.

That’s right, Elton Brand didn’t even have to give up a draft pick to procure Ennis, he just agreed to potentially swap seconds with the Houston Rockets to procure the Sixers’ new sixth-man.

Next. Ben Simmons is just too limited to lead his own team. dark

By identifying an underappreciated bench player on a team desperate for cap relief, Brand was able to finesse away a solid contributor for virtually nothing, a fitting encore to his blockbuster ‘Tobias Harris-trade’ the day prior.