What he has done
Ellington entered the league after being selected 28th overall in the 2009 draft really carrying really only one transferable skill with to the NBA, which was his ability to shoot. During his rookie year, Ellington got off to a rough start in terms of 3-point shooting. Shooting only 24.6% (14-57) from threes in the first three months of the season. Then from January 1 he went on to shoot 47.6% (50-105) for the remainder of his rookie season. He finished his rookie season shooting 39.5% from threes, but only shot 34% from mid-range (16-23 ft.). So he was quickly labeled a “spot-up 3-point shooter”.
This past season was sort of the same story for Ellington in comparison to his rookie season as he again shot well from the beyond the arc. He shot 39.7% from threes, but more importantly improved his mid-range game a bit by shooting 40% from mid-range, which is right around league-average (39.6%) for two-guards. Granted it was one season that he shot around league-average from mid-range, it still remains to be seen whether he can maintain or improve on this area of his game. He took 35% of his shot from mid-range and 31% from 3-point range this past season. Meaning two-thirds of his shot attempts were from 16 feet and beyond. Every other shot inside of 16 feet was close to a disaster as he was one of the worst shooters among guards at shots taken at the rim, only shooting 48.4% (league-average for guards is 61.8%). This caused a drop in his overall true-shooting percentage, which fell below league average at 48.8%. The year prior, Ellington had posted a TS% of 52.7% (2009-10 league-average was 54.1%).
At the start of last season Ellington was not receiving many minutes, but it had been reported that he was continuously practicing hard and waiting for his opportunity as the season went on. He recognized his ball-handling was shaky at best and continued to work on improving it. It showed a little bit at times last season, as he was able to separate from defenders by using a quick crossover dribble and step-back jumper.
For the being a late-1st round pick, Ellington has proven to be worth it, in the sense that many teams rarely find players who can contribute toward the end of the first round. Although Ellington is most definitely and will most likely remain a “one-trick pony” he gives the Wolves what appears to be a good locker room teammate who can provide some dependable 3-point shooting. His mid-range game is still a work in progress, as is the rest of his game in some regards. He is a player who is often time overmatched on defense due to his size, but makes up for with his solid basketball IQ. As seen in his statistical splits Ellington should only play about 10-25 minutes a game if he does play, meaning he is career benchwarmer or role player. If he continues to stick around the Wolves, he could end up being an Anthony Peeler-Fred Hoiberg type of shooting guard who comes in off the bench and hits a couple of 3-point shots a game.
(This will be an ongoing series throughout the summer, called Who Are You?, which will focus on each player on the Wolves and give a brief breakdown of their worth to the team)