There are still players worth signing in the NBA free agents market, and Wayne Ellington just might be one of them. After being released by the Sacramento Kings for cap reasons, the shooting guard might end up playing for the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls or the Los Angeles Lakers; all in need of a backup at that position.
The 28th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Ellington was part of the North Carolina team that won the national title that year. He began his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves but besides his shooting ability from long range (a career 43.8% shooter from deep) he has never been able to establish himself as anything more.
Ellington has never been a starter, but until last season, he was always getting somewhere between 15-20 minutes a night. A solid bench player, constantly delivering a couple of 3’s per game. Last season with the Mavs he played in only 45 games and averaged just 8.7 minutes a night, scoring 3.2 points per game. He did hit 44.8% of his 3-point attempts, but that was the kind of season that’s usually followed by finding yourself playing overseas or in the D-League.
But there’s always need for good shooters in the NBA, even if it’s in a very small role. Ellington might even get the chance to return to his playing time from his first few seasons on the Timberwolves if the situation is right.
Right now the race for backup to Dwynae Wade is completely open. Shannon Brown and Reggie Williams will be competing for that spot, but Ellington has a chance to beat out both of them. The Chicago Bulls are going to keep starting Jimmy Butler, but it’s pretty thin behind him if Tony Snell is to start playing his original, small forward position. The Lakers do have Kobe Bryant to start but who knows how bad or good his injury situation is, and Xavier Henry is his only backup right now.
Ellington won’t get too many chances to remain in the NBA. After not really delivering anything special through the first five seasons in the league, he’ll have training camp and preseason with some team to prove he deserves a shot to remain in the league, or start going through the process of International or “minor league” basketball, hoping for someone to remember him down the line and give him a shot.