It was the third time he’d been traded in his three NBA seasons. This move, though, offered the kind of opportunity for Ennis that the other didn’t. On a team filled with young players, he was just one more trying to figure out what he would be in the NBA.
“When I got here [in February] they told me I was going to have a chance to go out and play,” Ennis, 22, said. “I know it wasn’t going to be given to me with all the guards and the young players that were here. So I just tried to come out and show what I could do.”
Ennis has found a rhythm lately. He started in place of D’Angelo Russell last week against the San Antonio Spurs and scored a career-high 19 points. Four days later Ennis topped that with 20 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Since his arrival, coach Luke Walton has liked Ennis’ defense and feel for the game while playing point guard. Walton has wanted to see Ennis get more comfortable shooting the ball. Lately Ennis has found confidence in his shot.
“The way he’s been shooting the ball is gonna be the key to how far he makes it in this league,” Walton said. “He’s got a great feel for being a point guard, getting into the lane, making an extra pass, finishing around the rim, playing defense. All those things he does well enough. Especially for his age. If he can shoot the ball the way he has been the last couple games, if he can consistently be a threat from out there, he’s going to be a very good player in this league.”
The winners board
The final competition to determine the winner of the Lakers’ practice winners board was a dodgeball game Monday during the final practice of the season.
Toward the end of practice, Tarik Black and Metta World Peace were selected to be team captains for the game they’d play at the end. The catch was Walton didn’t tell them what that game would be. World Peace filled his team with big men, while Black got some of the faster, quicker players. In dodgeball, Black’s players were handier to have.
World Peace had been atop the leaderboard for most of the time since the trade deadline. Before that, Lou Williams was usually on top. Players receive points for winning in drills or scrimmages in practice. World Peace, 37, said dominating that board was his way of showing his younger teammates he could still mix it up with them.
The Lakers celebrated Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s upcoming 70th birthday before Tuesday’s game. Bill Russell, Bill Walton, Norm Nixon and James Worthy attended the celebration. Abdul-Jabbar also received a standing ovation when his birthday, which is Sunday, was announced during the second quarter. … Bill Walton stopped by his son Luke’s pregame news conference. The elder Walton leaned against a wall on the other side of the hallway while his son held court. Afterward Luke quipped, “That’s the longest he’s been quiet since … ” He didn’t finish the sentence. … Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell missed the game. He is in Louisville, Ky., grieving the loss of his grandmother, who died Sunday.
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