UNC in the NBA: Wayne Ellington fitting in nicely with Heat

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 25: Wayne Ellington
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 25: Wayne Ellington /

Well-traveled veteran may have found a permanent home in Miami

Miami Heat shooting guard Wayne Ellington hasn’t started a single game this season, and that might not change. He started just 13 games last season, despite averaging the most points-per-game of his career.

Regardless of starts, though, Ellington is making his presence felt. The month of November has been a particularly good month for the veteran sharpshooter, seeing increased playing time and an uptick in efficiency when he’s on the court.

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Over his last 12 games, Ellington is averaging 21.2 minutes per game, better than eight minutes a game more than he did in the month of October. He’s also averaging 9.7 points per game, four more than he did the previous month.

Ellington’s efficiency in that time span has also seen tremendous improvement. He shot just 36 percent from the floor and from three-point range through the first six games of the season. Since November 1st, he’s connecting on 44.6 percent of his shots, including 45.3 percent from beyond the three-point line.

He’s scored 21 points in two of his last three games, bouts against Indiana and Minnesota. He hit 13-of-21 shots, all of which came from three-point range, for a blistering 62 percent. He also committed just one turnover in 25 and 27 minutes, respectively.

Despite coming off the bench against the Timberwolves, Ellington led all scorers and propelled the Heat to their third victory in the last four games.

One can only assume that if Ellington continues to produce at this high of a level, he’ll keep seeing a healthy serving of playing time and plenty of opportunities to get his shot off.

Ellington averaged a career-high 10.5 points per game last season while hitting 37.8 percent of his three-point attempts and shooting 86 percent from the free throw line. He also nabbed 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 24.2 minutes per game.

If he continues playing the way he has of late, he’ll have a chance to trump all of those numbers and further solidify his already growing role with the Heat.

Next: Kendall Marshall retires from professional basketball

Stick with Keeping It Heel for future updates on Ellington, as well as the various North Carolina alumni in the NBA and internationally.