2012-13 Stats: 5.5 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, .407 field-goal percentage, .423 three-point percentage, 9.8 PER
Out of all the players that the Memphis Grizzlies traded this season, Wayne Ellington is the one that "got away". But before I get into that let's talk about Wayne's time as a Memphis Grizzlies. Things started off kinda rough for the fourth year player.
Remember when I wrote about Ellington not being the shooter everyone expected him to be? It was correct at the moment. Through the Grizzlies fantastic November stretch, Ellington shot a ho-hum 35 percent from three on 2.8 attempts per game. Being trademarked as a "shooter", the poor results left fans in a bind:
"Does he deserve less playing time if he isn't hitting shots?"
"Well, we don't have anyone else to play so..."
"Give Jerryd Bayless more minutes."
"Think Josh Selby is finally ready you guys?"
I mean how else were we supposed to react when Wayne Ellington goes out and does this:
How bad was Wayne's shooting in November? He made more three's in the Miami Heat game (7) than he did in the other 12 November games combined. Take away the Heat game and Ellington shoots 6-for-26 for the month. Some shooter right? That's how I felt when that piece was written. That's how everyone felt.
Boy did he turn the ship around quickly. As he got comfortable in Lionel Hollin's offense and developed solid chemistry alongside Jerryd Bayless and Mike Conley his shooting numbers increased drastically. In his 26 remaining games as a Grizzly, Ellington shot a scorching 48 percent from three. This includes shooting 44 percent from corner-3s and 50 percent from above the break (via NBA Stats). That's two points higher than Jose Calderon's league-leading 46 percent from three (!!!).
Eventually Ellington was shipped to the Cleveland Cavaliers alongside Marreese Speights and Josh Selby in what came to be know as the $6 million salary dump. At the time, Ellington's value didn't seem missed. We all thought the dump would be enough to keep the Conley - Rudy Gay - Zach Randolph - Marc Gasol core together for one more year before the new management broke things up next season.
Gay was traded to the Toronto Raptors eight days later.
Now let's play the role of the revisionist:
After seeing how the San Antonio Spurs exposed this teams lack of floor spacing & perimeter shooting, was the dumping of Wayne Ellington's $2,083,042 worth it? I'm sure anyone reading this is crazily shaking their head no. And looking at the salary cap going forward, retaining him wouldn't have put them in the luxury tax. I mean they're paying Austin Daye $4 million to do the same thing I did as a Memphis Grizzly.
Ellington's two million doesn't kill cap flexibility. It doesn't stop the team from re-signing fan favorite Tony Allen. It doesn't stop the team from going after a player such as Kyle Korver or J.J. Redick come free agency; the front office could have easily declined submitting a qualifying offer making Ellington an unrestricted free agent which would relieve him from the cap.
Again, this is me looking back on what could have been. No one knew then that the Grizzlies would desperately need a player of Wayne Ellington's caliber later on in the season.
But for all the credit John Hollinger and co. deserves for trading Rudy Gay, receiving Ed Davis in return and getting the perfect glue piece in Tayshaun Prince while saving money, someone has to say they messed up dealing Ellington. I'll gladly be that person. Wayne Ellington went on to be a exceptional role player for the Cleveland Cavaliers while we had to put up with the likes of Keyon Dooling. Guess we can't win 'em all eh.
- Production - C-
- General Grizznosity* - C-
- Clutch Performance - B-