Los Angeles Lakers Can’t Afford To Ignore Wayne Ellington’s Obvious Value

Averaging just 17 minutes off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers, Wayne Ellington is a role player whose value is sometimes overlooked.

This may seem like a curious statement during a losing season and about someone averaging just 6.4 points per game, but Ellington is a system player who can come off screens and sink spot-up threes.

And that’s a useful quality in Byron Scott’s hybrid Princeton offense.

At age 27, the 6’4″ shooting guard has never been a starter and has bounced around the league, playing with five teams in six seasons. Even so, he has common ties with some fellow Lakers—he and Ed Davis were on the same North Carolina team that won the 2009 national championship.

Ellington’s pinpoint shooting during the title run helped earn him the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player Award, while he and Davis were co-winners of the Most Improved Player honor.

Their paths crossed again during the 2012-13 season with the Memphis Grizzlies. Davis arrived from the Toronto Raptors in a trade just days after Ellington was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The guard’s new coach was none other than Scott. Ellington’s scoring jumped from 5.5 points per game in Memphis to 10.4 over 38 appearances with the Cavaliers.

Jodie Valade of The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote about Ellington’s rising production, and the faith expressed by his coach: “He is not a demanding ball hog. He is not a player who turns the ball over often. He is not the kind of guard who will take wild shots from all angles of the court at any time.”

The former collegiate star will never be known as a volume scorer in the NBA, but he still has a pure outside stroke.

That doesn’t mean Ellington’s judicious finesse game always pays off. He can be streaky—shooting 1-of-11 over a three-game stretch, before making 3-of-5 in a loss to the Indiana Pacers Monday night.

But despite the occasional drought, Ellington’s overall numbers lend credence to his efficiency. He’s averaging 47 percent from the field this season with a solid 37 percent from beyond the arc. Additionally, his turnover rate is the lowest of any active player on the roster.

The real question is whether a veteran journeyman guard with an unguaranteed contract can carve out a lasting identity with a new team.

This season has brought challenges far more profound than basketball, however. On Nov. 9, after the Lakers defeated the Charlotte Hornets for their first win of the season, Ellington received devastating news about the tragic and sudden death of his father.

The team granted Ellington an indefinite leave of absence. He returned two weeks later, and per Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, pledged to dedicate the rest of the season to his dad’s memory: “He was so ecstatic when I signed with the Lakers before camp. He was telling me how proud he is of me. I’m leaving it all out there every single day, every time I step out on the floor.”

Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Ellington was an elite prospect as a kid, honing his skills with The Playaz—an AAU club that counts Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, J.R Smith, Kyle Lowry and Kenneth Faried among its alumni.

From there to Daniel Boone High School and Episcopal Academy, Ellington was scouted, touted and recruited. He was considered the No. 1 shooting guard prospect of the 2006 class by top collegiate scout Dave Telep (subscription required) and prospered under Roy Williams at UNC—from running the floor to scoring off back screens and ball reversals. 

Yet, like many rising stars, Ellington never made the jump to NBA dominance.

He has made a living as a perennial backup—good enough to continue his professional career from one basketball home to the next, from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who drafted him late in the first round, to the here and now in Los Angeles.

Ellington can do a little of everything well, and he can do some things much better than that. He has a solid work ethic, offers quiet leadership and can catch and shoot on a second’s notice with opposing players in his face—a valuable skill set on a team that has struggled with offensive production.

His ability to play consistently smart basketball also matters—the Lakers have lacked depth and cohesion at the wing all season.

There may not be huge minutes available for a second-string shooting guard playing in the shadow of Bryant. But lightening the load, even incrementally, on the Mamba’s weary legs would help the equation.

Putting timely points on the board only adds to that benefit.

Wayne Ellington will probably never be a star in the league, but he still offers value.

And the Lakers—a team in rebuilding mode—can’t afford to ignore that.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Georgetown wears ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts

The Hoyas are the first college team to wear them.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NCAA Top Stories

Rajon Rondo doesn’t plan to wear ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirt

Rajon Rondo will stick with his usual pregame attire, for now.
 
The Boston Celtics point guard has no plans to join the legion of NBA players donning “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts, he told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. While Rondo supports the shirts’ message, he and the Celtics have not discussed taking a stand themselves.
“Everybody’s different,” Rondo told the Herald in Charlotte, N.C., where the Celtics fell to the Hornets 96-87 on Wednesday. “To each his own. And I definitely support the guys that have worn the T-shirts, but I haven’t reached out to anybody or had anybody reach out to me about wearing a T-shirt, so I’m just going to continue to do what I do.”
LeBron James, Derrick Rose, former Celtic Kevin Garnett and others have worn the shirts in memory of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died as a result of a police chokehold. Garner’s death was widely circulated on video, in which he can be heard telling an officer, “I can’t breathe.”
Thumbnail photo via Sa

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Georgetown Hoyas wear ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts before playing Kansas

The Hoyas are the first college team to wear them.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NCAA Top Stories

Georgetown players wear ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirts (Yahoo Sports)

Members of the Georgetown basketball team stand for the National Anthem wearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Georgetown basketball team is the latest to stage an ”I Can’t Breathe” protest.


View full post on Yahoo Sports – NCAA Men’s Hoops News

NBA Players support “I can’t breath” movement

On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers players showed up to their pre-game warm up wearing a black t-shirt that read in white letters “I can’t breathe”. The t-shirts are in support of Eric Garner, who died the past July 17, 2014 after an altercation with the NYPD. A police officer put Garner on a chokehold, putting him down and leaving him unconscious, he was later declared dead. A video that captured the altercation surfaced the internet and went viral, in the video, Garner can be seen saying the phrase “I can’t breathe” multiple times until he finally fell unconscious. The police officers involved in the altercation were not indicted by the grand jury, which decision sparked a set of public protests and became a national issue.
Eric Garner on chokehold
NBA players since have taken the responsibility of voicing their own opinions and support the public movements, as well as support Eric Garner’s family.
LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant are among the

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Kobe, Lakers join ‘I Can’t Breathe’ protest wave

Bryant and other Lakers players showed respect to the late Eric Garner with shirts.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

Kobe Bryant and Teammates Wear ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts Before Lakers-Kings

Kobe Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates are the newest on a growing list of professional athletes to warm up in “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts, donning them prior to their home tilt with the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday. 

The team’s official Twitter feed provided a snapshot:

The shirts quote the last words of Eric Garner, who died after New York officer Daniel Pantaleo applied a chokehold. A Staten Island grand jury recently chose not to indict the officer, sparking protests across the country. 

Showing support for Garner, his family and the protests, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose donned the shirt before Saturday’s game against the Golden State Warriors. On Monday, the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers also wore the shirts, per Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and Michael Lee of The Washington Post:

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently told Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, “I respect Derrick Rose and all of our players for voicing their personal views on important issues but my preference would be for players to abide by our on-court attire rules.”

It doesn’t appear that Silver’s stance is stopping the NBA’s stars from showing their support. 

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Jay Z Can’t Believe LeBron James Hit Fadeaway Jumper over Nets Defender

It’s no secret that Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James can do some incredible things on the court. After 12 years in the league, he’s still dropping jaws.

During Monday night’s game at the Barclays Center, James somehow hit a fadeaway jumper over the Brooklyn Nets’ Bojan Bogdanovic, who is 6’8″. It looked fairly routine for the Cavs star, but it certainly grabbed Jay Z’s attention.

That’s the look that people have on their face when they can’t believe what they just saw—and we’re guessing Jay Z has seen a lot of unbelievable things.

James had 18 points and seven assists in Cleveland’s 110-88 victory.

[RedditNext Impulse Sports]

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Cavs, Nets wear statement ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts

The shirts were worn before the Cavs played at the Nets in Brooklyn on Monday.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

Next Page »