The Grizzlies have officially landed Mario Chalmers and James Ennis from the Heat for Beno Udrih and Jarnell Stokes, per Yahoo! Sports/FOX Sports 1 NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. Now, the questions become, who are these guys? And how will Memphis use them?
Here are brief scouting reports on Ennis and Chalmers:
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The motivation of this trade is obvious: The Grizzlies want shooting from beyond the arc, and Chalmers is a capable three-point maker who can come on the cheap because of his recent performance. Though he is a career 36-percent shooter from three-point land, the former Heat point guard has drained only 29 percent of his attempts since the start of last season. That’s not what you want to see from the guy who’s supposed to be your long-range help. But there’s context here.
Chalmers made 39 percent of his threes during the LeBron years, when he started at point guard but didn’t really play it. He was more of an off-ball presence then, spotting up for many uncontested three-point looks. Last year, he had a strange season, having to relearn how to play without James while also having to transition to the bench midseason on a team that brought in Goran Dragic at the trade deadline and lost many of its best players (including Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh) sporadically throughout the year. In Memphis, Chalmers knows his role: backing up Mike Conley, and though we didn’t see many two-point-guard lineups with Beno Udrih in town, don’t be surprised if coach Dave Joerger tries some with Chalmers and attempts to trigger some of that old three-point juice that made him successful in Miami for years.
Ennis is a lesser known commodity, though there are traits we can figure in the second-year pro who was a second-round pick back in 2013. The question here is, can Ennis shoot from long range? Because if he can, he becomes a completely different player.
The Long Beach State alum actually has loads of defensive potential, boasting a wingspan that stretches to almost seven feet to complement his above-average athleticism. He has value in transition, and Miami has used him as a quality wing defender in the past after he tore up opposing offenses playing within Dan Monson’s 1-3-1 zone at LBSU. But Ennis hasn’t shot well enough from the outside to become a true 3-and-D threat, as the kids call it nowadays.
Ennis didn’t have much use on the Heat anymore and wasn’t playing a ton. It’s possible that stays the same with the Grizzlies, who have a mishmash of wings that includes Tony Allen, Courtney Lee, Matt Barnes, Jeff Green, the ghost of Vince Carter and Jordan Adams, who’s not even playing. But if Memphis can work some of its usual defensive magic on Ennis, maybe he finds a way to crack the rotation and lend some help to a currently struggling team, especially if he can start shooting.