Brett Brown Details Decision to Keep James Ennis Out on Monday
PHILADELPHIA, PA --The Philadelphia 76ers wrapped up their two-game road trip this past Monday night with a loss against the Indiana Pacers. And once again, Philly failed to exceed 100 points in a matchup as they produced putrid numbers from beyond the arc.
Out of 33 attempts from long-range, the Sixers managed only to drain six baskets. While struggles from three-point land have been a common theme for the Sixers as of late, the benching of one of their better shooting veterans was sort of a head-scratching move by Brett Brown on Monday.
With 13 guys available, Coach Brown made his typical decision to only play ten. Veteran big man Kyle O'Quinn was one of the usual suspects who became an odd-man-out against Indiana. So was the former second-rounder Shake Milton.
And shockingly, James Ennis failed to pick up any minutes. Despite playing in all but one matchup until Monday, Ennis was not in Brown's favor against the Pacers. Therefore, the 29-year-old small forward became a healthy DNP for the first time this year.
So what went into Brown's decision to keep Ennis out of the rotation on Monday? Well, it has something to do with the rookie, Matisse Thybulle. On Wednesday, the Sixers returned home for the first time since last Thursday to face the Brooklyn Nets.
When asked about what went into the idea to keep Ennis out of the game earlier this week, Brown explained he simply wants to work on the growth of his high-prized rookie. "I wanted to try and grow Matisse," Brown said on Wednesday night.
"The lion's share of James' minutes were shifted over to Matisse." Typically, Ennis averages 17 minutes-per-night. For that game, though, Thybulle acquired 28 minutes of playing time, with Furkan Korkmaz picking up 23.
Considering Thybulle struggled offensively on Monday, draining only one of his five attempted three-balls, he hasn't really earned all of Ennis' playing time just yet. "I don't believe it is something you're going to see a steady diet of. I wanted to try it, and I did it."
That's not to say Thybulle won't see significant action moving forward. The rookie will still get his fair share of minutes on the floor. He just likely won't see around 30 minutes-per-night, keeping Ennis out of the rotation. With the Sixers dealing with notable struggles in the shooting department, they need a veteran like Ennis to step it up off the bench.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_