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Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni wants James Ennis to shoot as many 3s as possible

James Ennis, Mike D'Antoni

In a bid to make up for losing two of their best defenders, the Houston Rockets acquired a quality 3-and-D player in James Ennis this offseason. While defense will still be his calling card this season, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni has given Ennis the green light to shoot as many 3-pointers as possible to space out the offense for the team’s premier playmakers.

Ennis recently sat down with The Athletic’s Alykhan Bijani and bared how his new coach plans to use him:

The Athletic: How did Coach D’Antoni say he wanted to utilize you? And as a result of your conversations with him, what have you been working on this offseason to prepare?

Ennis: He definitely wants to use my ability to guard 1-4. My shooting ability. And my energy. So my biggest thing this offseason was being able to knock down the three. This whole summer I’ve been working on my ball-handling, distributing the ball out of pick-and-roll and shooting a lot of three-pointers, open shots and contested shots. Coach D’Antoni told me in the meeting that if I don’t shoot double or have a career year in 3-point attempts then he’s gonna bench me. He wants me to shoot as many threes as possible.

The Rockets just lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute to free agency this summer, so bringing in a defensive player was a no-brainer for the team. When they saw Ennis was still available, they snared the former 2013 second-round pick.

A career 36 percent shooter from beyond the arc, Ennis has been a solid role player off the bench. The 6-foot-8 defensive player will undoubtedly benefit from Chris Paul and James Harden’s excellent playmaking as he looks to prove that he could be the two-way player the Rockets are looking for in their quest for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.