Wayne Ellington Showing Why Los Angeles Lakers Should Bring Him Back Next Season

Wayne Ellington was a star in college, but he’s never been more than a bit player in the NBA. 

But since being picked up by the Los Angeles Lakers as a training camp invite, the 27-year-old journeyman may have finally found a more permanent home.

Averaging 9.3 points per game and shooting 45 percent from the floor, the former NCAA champion from North Carolina has the lowest usage rate of anyone on the roster. He has also started 19 of 44 games so far this season, averaging 13.2 points in that role in place of Kobe Bryant. 

It wasn’t what anyone anticipated when the 6’4” role player was signed to a partially guaranteed contract, but then again, nobody could have predicted such an oddball injury-laden season.

Ellington was a minor footnote in a six-player swap between the Dallas Mavericks and the New York Knicks last June. The Knicks then sent him to the Sacramento Kings, and the Kings subsequently waived him.

This is a guy who was going nowhere fast. His career was at a crossroads. 

But there has never been any doubt about Ellington’s ability to knock down shots. He’s a consistent long-range shooter, averaging 39 percent from beyond the arc for his career and matching that rate this season.

The shooting guard has made the most of his opportunities in Los Angeles, whether coming off the bench or filling in as a starter when Bryant was not in the lineup. Since Kobe went out for the season with a torn rotator cuff, Ellington has averaged 15.7 points in 34.2 minutes per game.

Included in those starts was a career-high 28 points against the Washington Wizards Jan. 27. And though Washington prevailed 98-92, the guard’s strong all-around effort, including three rebounds, three assists and three steals, showed a continued resiliency during a losing season that currently stands at 13-40.

And that...

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