Pursuit of Veteran Depth Nets Simmons, Ennis
One of the 76ers’ chief objectives ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline was to deepen the roster with well-rounded veterans.
By the time 3 o’clock had come and gone, the push proved to be a success, as the club landed Jonathon Simmons and James Ennis in a pair of separate deals.
Simmons comes to the Sixers via Orlando in a swap that also included a pair of future draft picks - a first-rounder in 2020 (protected nos. 1-20), and a second-rounder in 2019. In return, the Sixers sent Markelle Fultz to the Magic.
In the Ennis transaction, no other players were involved. The Sixers and Rockets will instead swap second-round draft rights in 2021.
That the Sixers were in relatively good shape prior to this year’s deadline was reflected by their 34-20 record, which, as of Thursday morning, stood fifth-best in the Eastern Conference.
In recent weeks, however, team leadership - between general manager Elton Brand and head coach Brett Brown - was transparent. The prevailing sentiment was that the Sixers needed to add seasoned depth to its reserve corps to make a deep run in the post-season.
Simmons and Ennis could very well help accomplish that aim.
Having turned 29 in November, Simmons entered the 2018-19 campaign on the heels of his strongest season to-date. The undrafted Houston native was a full-time starter for Orlando a year ago, and posted career-high marks of 13.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 29.4 minutes per game.
Simmons, a former Rising Stars Challenge participant, first broke into the NBA in 2015 with San Antonio. Prior to that, he spent two years with the Spurs’ G League affiliate in Austin.
As for Ennis, the 2013 no. 50 pick will be joining his sixth NBA team, having previously played for the Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, and Houston.
With the Rockets this season, the Southern California native had been averaging 7.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 23.6 minutes in 39 total games. He logged 25 starts, three shy of his career-high with Memphis in 2016-17.
Prior to turning pro, Ennis played two seasons at Long Beach State, where he earned All-American honors. That stint was preceded by stops at two California junior colleges - first Oxnard College, then Ventura College.
The 28-year old Ennis has played internationally and in the G League as well.