Due to his play at the end of the 2017 season, Tyler Ennis earned himself another one-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately for Ennis, this season didn’t quite go the way he planned, as he struggled to get consistent minutes and to produce when he was on the court.
Once again, however, Ennis had a solid end to the season. He averaged 10 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.3 assist and 1.6 steals in the month of April. With the Lakers dealing with a rash of injuries down the stretch, Ennis finally saw regular minutes.
Some might think that would be reason for Ennis, on just a one-year deal, to start looking for his own stats, but that wasn’t the case. “What I’ve noticed, being a point guard, is that playing the right way is what gets me noticed and what people take note of,” Ennis explained.
He believes the entire team played with that same mindset. “That’s why we had some games at the end that even though we were out, we beat the Spurs, played Houston pretty tough,” Ennis said in his exit interview.
“I think that is a testament to how coach started training camp. We wanted to be competitive. Whether we were in practice or games, we played hard.”
One reason the Lakers needed to adopt that mindset in order to be successful was that the team lacked one true superstar, that closer, or as Ennis says, one true leader.
“We had some pretty good vets. Bogut was really vocal when he was here. I.T. and Channing were really vocal when they came over,” Ennis said. “Brew was great when he was here. We didn’t have one guy that we kind of had as our leader. We had a bunch of guys who would speak up at different times.”
It wasn’t just veterans who would speak up though, as Ennis said players like Lonzo Ball or Kyle Kuzma would step up when necessary as well.
“Sometimes that would be a vet, sometimes it would be a rookie, Kuz or Zo, or one of those guys. I thought it worked for us,” Ennis explained. “When we needed Zo to step up, he did. When we needed B.I. to step up, he did.”
There is still plenty of room for growth with these Lakers. The young players are all ready to step up as leaders and Ennis has already witnessed the beginnings of it. But whether Ennis continues on the journey with them would appear to be unlikely.
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