After being one of the worst shooting teams in the league last season and that ultimately being their downfall, the Los Angeles Lakers clearly targeted shooters this offseason to surround their three stars in LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.
Arguably the best they brought in is Wayne Ellington as the 33-year-old is coming off a career year from deep in which he shot 42.2% on 6.0 attempts per game with the Detroit Pistons.
How much playing time Ellington will get remains to be seen, but he said that he has already spoken to Frank Vogel about his role and he is excited about the quality of looks he’s going to get playing alongside the team’s stars.
“Obviously, like I said, with the type of attack game and type of ability a lot of the guys in obviously Russ and LeBron [James], AD and the attention those guys demand. The way they get into that paint and the way teams have to guard those guys, my 3-point shooting is going to be a premium, so I look forward to being able to complement those guys. I feel like I’m going to get some of the best looks out of not only my NBA career but in my life this coming season.”
In addition to Ellington, the Lakers will have a number of other players that can fill a similar role and will be competing for playing time like Kent Bazemore, Trevor Ariza, Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk and Carmelo Anthony.
That should give Vogel plenty of options to go to if the team goes cold from deep, which is a luxury he simply didn’t have last season when the Lakers were eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns.
Ellington believes he can fill 3-and-D role
In addition to his shooting, Ellington is also focused on being a lockdown defender for the Lakers this season, which could be the key to him earning consistent playing time.
“I will start with the defensive part,” Ellington said. “Obviously, defense is what wins championships at the end of the day. When you have the length and size and athleticism this team has it’ll be easy to defend. You’ve got help all over the court. You’ve got guys with experience that that know how to communicate and talk to each other in different positions, different spots. Helping each other. Then you got forces like AD and Dwight [Howard] back there`s swatting stuff around. I think that’ll be something that we’ll all be able to complement each other.
“As far as threes, I think it’s needed. It’s necessary. Three-point shooting is a premium in the league right now. You got all these guys that are attackers that can get to the paint that creates so much attention. You’ve got to have a guy like myself to kick it out to spread the floor and move the defense and keep guys honest. I feel like my game and 3-point shooting complements this team very well.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!