MIAMI – Wayne Ellington has become one of the more electric players of the season.
The catch-and-shoot specialist leads the team with 109 3 pointers while averaging a career-high 11.1 points per game. Ellington is the true definition of instant offense, able to come off the bench and provide a spark along with having a knack for making timely shots. And Ellington’s style perfectly suits Miami’s drive-and-kick game, which means he must be a candidate to return as the Heat tinker with this roster in the offseason, right?
We answer that and a question about Udonis Haslem in the latest installment of our mailbag.
If you weren’t able to submit a question this week, send them in for future mailbags via Twitter to @Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44.
From our loyal reader @ChrisHypeTrain: Do you think the Heat will bring back Ellington?
That question suddenly has become an intriguing one. The Heat have the option on Ellington’s contract for next season, one that would cost them $6.27 million. The initial thinking was Miami would let the eight-year veteran walk and use that money to pad their cap space. But now, after a season in which the 6-foot-5 Ellington got off to a nice start, leveled off and recently has been an invaluable piece to the bench, he may be looking like a bargain next season.
Ellington, 29, is one the game’s premier catch-and-shoot 3-point shooters and when that shot is falling he is deadly. He is shooting 37.5 percent from long distance, including .500 (20-of-40) in his last five games. And to get an idea what the Heat think of Ellington, coach Erik Spoelstra praised him following Monday’s win in Cleveland.
“His shooting routine and program is Ray Allen-ish,” Spoelstra said. “And all of that is behind the scenes as the first one in the building, last one to leave. Strokes like that don’t happen by accident and you don’t have shooting games like that every single game but you work on it every single day no matter what happens.”
Ellington would not be re-signed with the idea he would be the starting two guard but at that price he would be perfect in the role he currently occupies.
Good to hear from good friend Asher Wildman, @AsherWildMan6, of WCTV CBS-6 In Tallahassee who asks: why such little PT for UD? We all know about his “deal” but why not give him some minutes?
I was so sure that Haslem would be dusted off when Willie Reed was out with his injured ankle that I wrote about UD getting ready “to play extended minutes” in Dallas and for however long Reed was out. And while that didn’t happen – Reed missed two games but James Johnson got the bulk of Reed’s minutes with help from Okaro White – then for sure I expected to see Haslem Monday in Cleveland when the Heat were down to nine healthy players and still. …
Haslem has seen action in 16 games and it’s been more than a month (Feb. 4) since he last played, a stretch of 14 games. I would like to see him get some minutes but he has looked his age when he has played. Besides, the versatility of Johnson and athletic ability of White are very effective when the Heat go small.
Still, his role as a mentor and leader has been invaluable. At least once a game you see Haslem on the court directing a frustrated teammate to the huddle or with his arm around a player giving him encouragement. To the Heat, that is as good as 12 productive minutes on the court.