Basketball

Should the Lakers Sign Wayne Ellington?

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The Los Angeles Lakers have a big and difficult free agency ahead of them. They have issues and not much room in the salary to deal with them. One of the biggest issues the Laker’s first-round exit revealed was their three-point shooting. They could not knock down open shots, which simply cannot happen if you are a championship-contending team in this era.

During the season, Anthony Davis called Kentavious Caldwell-Pope the Lakers’ best three-point shooter. Caldwell-Pope confidently backed that sentiment. He had a great shooting season in the regular season. He shot 41% from beyond the arc, improving from last year where he shot 38.5% on nearly one less attempt.

However, come playoffs time, Caldwell-Pope shot 21.1% from the three-point range. Not the numbers you want from any of your shooters, let alone your best one. When your best shooter can’t be trusted to knock down shots in the playoffs, he was even passing up open shots too, you need to get help.

Of course, he wasn’t the only Lakers “shooter” to disappoint when it mattered. Wesley Matthews shot 28%, Kyle Kuzma shot 17.4%, and Alex Caruso shot 29.4%.

Their best shooter was Ben McLemore, and at times he felt like the only shooter that could knock down a shot. He shot 33.3% from three, but we know he is capable of better.

So it is pretty clear the Lakers need shooters, and Wayne Ellington is one of the better shooters in the league.

How Good of a Shooter Is Wayne Ellington?

Ellington is a career 38.2% three-point shooter. For someone who played 12 seasons to still have a percentage that high is quite impressive.

Looking at someone’s career stats is quite flawed so let’s take a look at his recent shooting percentage.

This season he shot 42.2% from beyond the arc and played 22 minutes a game for the Detroit Pistons. This shows that he is capable of being given serious minutes in a rotation.

Lakers’ fans will remember his three-point shooting well after his performance against them in the regular season. The Detroit Pistons beat the Lakers in their first meeting in the 2020-21 season, and Ellington had 20 points.

In this great performance, he went 6-9 from the three-point line. That isn’t a one-off for him too, he has plenty of games throughout the regular season where he just goes off from deep.

The Lakers need a shooter that can just get hot and help them pull away from teams or catch up with their threes. Ellington is very capable of being that guy.

His best three-point shooting performance this season saw him shoot 8-11 in a win against the Toronto Raptors. He had 25 points in a dominant win where he played 26 minutes.

Whilst he is a good shooter, he is not a great defender. Due to his defensive capabilities, it is likely that he wouldn’t see as many minutes when the full roster is healthy and available.

He’s a great option to have though when the Lakers are struggling shooting-wise, and he could change the game and be part of a very strong bench unit.

He currently holds the record for most three-pointers off the bench in a single season. He hit 218 threes in the 2017-28 season.

Signing him wouldn’t take much space, and it would give the Lakers a great option when they are shooting poorly from beyond the arc.

Could signing Wayne Ellington be one of the steps needed to improve the Lakers’ three-point shooting? Without a doubt.

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