The Houston Rockets were so close yet so far from beating the Golden State Warriors last year. They were closing out Game 5 when Chris Paul got hurt, injuring his hamstring. The Rockets were one game away from closing out the Warriors at the end of that game, but that was the last one they would win in the series. The Rockets ended up losing the series without Paul, as the Warriors played with unmatched aggression once they had their backs against the wall. Going into the offseason, the Rockets had key choices to make when it came to Chris Paul, Clint Capela and others. Well, the decisions were made and some of them have not went over well. Clint Capela is having his own issues with coming to a contract agreement with the team, Chris Paul got his money and Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah A Moute are now with the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers respectively. They did happen to also re-sign Gerald Green, but the roster they currently have is not one that can be as good defensively as they had last season. With that need for wing players out there, the Rockets made a move and no, it is not the move for Carmelo Anthony people expected to happen.
The Rockets and forward James Ennis III have agreed on a two-year deal with a player option after the first season. The deal puts the 28 year old Ennis on his fifth team going into his fifth year of his career. Over his career, he has not been able to stick anywhere unfortunately, but he does have some things he can add to the Rockets team. Ariza was a good defender for the Rockets over his time there. He could play solid man-to-man defense on the best offensive player on the opposing team and he also made hustle plays. Ennis III is in that same mold defensively that Ariza is. The caveat for the Rockets though is he is cheaper and younger than Ariza. Bringing him to Houston, he would be a good defensive addition and could help shoulder the perimeter defense load that has been thrust upon PJ Tucker a little more with the absence of Ariza and Mbah A Moute.
Defensively the fit is there, but unfortunately the offensive fit is yet to be determined. Ennis III is a player that thrives more in the open court than in the halfcourt offense. Standing at 6'7", Ennis III can finish at the rim with his explosive athleticism. Where the questions arise about his fit in Houston are his shooting prowess. Ennis III has not really been a volume shooter from three-point range in his career. One season he shot more than five three's in a game and that was when he was a member of the New Orleans Hornets for only nine games in the 2015-2016 season (he shot 48% during that time from three-point range). That snapshot is not nearly enough to know if he can be a consistent three-point shooter for Houston. For all the venom people have passed Ariza's way, he shot the three-pointer at a shade under 37% last season. With Ennis III there, they need him to take that small sample size from back in the 2015-2016 season and expound on that (of course he more than likely is not going to shoot at a 48% clip from three-point range over a season). If he doesn't, then the Rockets will not be able to employ their gameplan they have under D'Antoni's guidance.
We know the Rockets are in the running for Carmelo Anthony, but they need much more than him and they also need more shooting. The Rockets are taking a chance on Ennis III to bring them defense and shooting. We shall see what he brings them once the season starts.