Why Wayne Ellington Should Return to Los Angeles Lakers Next Season

It may have gone largely unnoticed during a generally miserable year, but Wayne Ellington heads into summer free agency on the heels of his best NBA season.

The 27-year-old shooting guard isn’t a big story in the lead-up to the draft, and he’s also not the first person who comes to mind when considering the larger picture of the Los Angeles Lakers' rebuild.

But the L.A. front office should re-sign Ellington regardless. The six-year veteran does a little bit of everything and does one thing particularly well—he has a proclivity for knocking down jumpers from beyond the arc.

That’s something of value for a low-scoring team with a conservative offensive approach.

For the 2014-15 season, Ellington averaged 10 points per game in 25.6 minutes, with 39 percent of his shots coming from downtown.

A shooting star at North Carolina, Ellington has largely played under the radar as a pro, signing with seven teams over the course of six years and playing for just five of them. He has become the definition of an NBA journeyman, going where the road takes him and filling needs with little fanfare.

Born and raised in the Philadelphia suburbs, Ellington was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves as the 28th overall pick in 2009. Fresh off an NCAA title and the Final Four MVP that year, the 2-guard might have gone higher if not for the pesky size issue—6’4” isn’t impressive for a player at that position, especially when not known for explosive speed or power.

It’s not that Ellington can’t find his way through traffic. But he’s just more of a spread-the-floor kind of guy. As it turned out, the Timberwolves were just the first stop in a serpentine career. One of Ellington's shortest subsequent stops, however, might have provided a prescient insight into the future.

Midway through the 2012-13 season, E...

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