The Veteran Who Was Originally Signed to Fill A Roster Spot, Could Soon be Traded for a Solid Return.
On December 2nd, a week before training camp started, Wayne Ellington was the final free agent signed for the Pistons. He agreed to a one year, $2 million contract with new General Manager Troy Weaver, wrapping up a very busy offseason. At the time, Ellington’s signing was a low risk signing that would bring a veteran presence and depth to a roster that was just trying to stay afloat. Now however, the North Carolina product is averaging the most points per game in his entire 11 year career.
Little did the Pistons know, they would be signing the NBA’s best three point shooter one month into the new season. They also probably didn’t plan on Ellington starting 11 of their 14 games so far. Hell, Wayne himself probably didn’t think he would be lighting it up like he has been. So what is clicking for the 33 year old? What does it mean for Detroit’s front office that is gearing up for a (hopefully) busy trade deadline?
You may remember that this is not the first time Wayne Ellington has put on a Detroit Pistons jersey. In February of 2019, his services were brought in to help bring Detroit to the postseason, after he was released from the Miami Heat. His 12 points and 3 three pointers made per game were enough to accomplish that feat. Although that story ends with a first round sweep at that hands of the Bucks, Ellington meshed well with that squad and was a good acquisition for the Pistons.
Wherever he has gone Ellington has provided one thing; shooting. The league has taken notice of his career mark of 38% shooting from downtown. As a result, he has played for 9 different franchises since his rookie campaign in 2009. When the Pistons were rounding out their roster for this season, they realized what they were lacking, is what Ellington could supply. His shooting prowess is arguably what brought this team to the playoffs in 2019, and is what is keeping this team competitive in 2021.
Back in December, Wayne Ellington was slipping through the cracks of the free agent market. He was without a contract 7 days before the start of the preseason. Then the Pistons returned the favor by bringing him aboard with a veteran, team friendly deal. Although the front office looks a little different than it did in 2019, they remembered how good a fit Ellington was during his time here. Once again he is meshing nicely with this young squad, and Detroit is getting great value out of him. Even better yet, the shooting guard may serve as a nice trade piece for Troy Weaver during this years trade deadline.
Playing Your Cards Right
If anything good has come out of the injury to Killian Hayes, it has to be the emergence of Wayne Ellington. Google the phrase ‘in the zone’ and you will see a picture of Ellington. It seems like every other offensive possession for the Pistons contains a screen and curl for him. We are now to the point where fans think it is going in every time he shoots. Opposing teams are giving him special attention. This kind of production has to be on the trading block right?
Coming into the season, winning games wasn’t on the top of the priority list for the front office and the fanbase alike. The front office was focused on developing youth, and the fans were wondering what kind of trade can be centered around Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose. Now you can throw Wayne Ellington into that mix.
Every contending team is going to be seeking a boost in shooting come the NBA’s trade cutoff of March 25th. Wayne will provide that and more. His experience and decent defensive effort (0.5 steals per game) are great compliments to his shooting ability. Troy Weaver should be sitting in his office with a giant smile on his face right now. If Ellington continues the tear he is on right now, teams will be ringing his phone like crazy. The new general manager had a great draft and a good free agency. Now it’s time for him to sell like crazy at the deadline, and Wayne Ellington will be his hottest commodity.
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