Give 76ers swingman James Ennis III credit for sticking to his bold comments.
During the introductions of the Sixers’ signees Friday at their Camden practice facility, Ennis didn’t lack confidence when discussing the Sixers’ chances in the Eastern Conference.
“The East is going to be wide open,” Ennis said earlier this week. “We had a good chance last year. Kawhi [Leonard] is gone. He went to the West.”
Then came the kicker.
“So we are going to walk to the finals in the East,” Ennis added.
As Sixers fans know all too well, Kawhi Leonard led Toronto to the NBA championship, along the way hitting the game-winning shot at the buzzer in Game 7 to eliminate the Sixers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Leonard signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Clippers
Ennis’ comments about walking to the Finals have been circulating throughout the league. All of a sudden, James Ennis, who averaged 5.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 18 regular-season games for the Sixers after being dealt from Houston on Feb. 7, is receiving national attention.
Fast-forward to Friday. The 29-year-old Ennis refused to back off when asked about his comments.
“I am confident in the group and I believe in this group and believe in Coach [Brett Brown] and I know all the guys want to win," Ennis said.
While he didn’t back off his original statement, Ennis suggested it wouldn’t be a walk in the park to win the East.
“It is going to be tough — it is the NBA — but I believe," he said.
His thirst for winning and belief in the Sixers is so great that Ennis, who re-signed for two years and $4.1 million, said he turned down more money from other teams.
“There were multiple teams offering more, but I felt like we had a good chance last year. And once I got traded here I feel I jelled right away with my teammates and fans and felt comfortable coming here,” he said after the news conference.
“I didn’t chase every dollar,” said Ennis, who averaged 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 21.1 minutes during the postseason. “I looked at the big picture. I love to win and that is why I came back, to win a championship.”