ESPN’s #NBARank (to which, full disclosure, I was a contributor) is approaching its zenith; we’re in Steph Curry/Tyson Chandler territory at the moment which, for me, is probably the most interesting and edifying swath of the NBA (sure hope I get to see them play sometime soon). If you ask me, the whole enterprise is pretty fascinating, not least for the pure chutzpah of assigning a comprehensive rating, down to the hundredth of a point, to 500 NBA players. (I mean, we all know that Pooh Jeter is precisely .01 better than Alonzo Gee–and just exactly as good as Eduardo Najera–but, like many true things, it does take some courage to come out and say it, you know?) It also draws heavily on the deep reservoir of compulsive list-making, stat-memorizing, Simpsons-quoting, no-girlfriend-having 16-year-old boy that lies just under the surface of almost all sportswriters.
We’ve already made note of Nikola Pekovic’s and Lazar Hayward’s presence in the top 500 (and should also point out that Malcolm Lee sneaks in at number 429, just ahead of Jeremy Evans). The next Wolves up the ladder are Wayne Ellington at 364 and Sebastian Telfair at 322. For the dynamic bounce he injected into the Wolves blood whenever he was on the floor (particularly during that dark time after Al Jefferson’s knee injury) Bassy is pretty close to my heart. But I think we all know by now that he is one of those phenomenally gifted but fatally flawed players that are such staples of the NBA’s lower echelons. What’s more, there’s very little chance that he’ll be re-signed by the Wolves for what remains of the ’11/’12 season.
But the jury is still out on Wayne Ellington. If you consider only the fact that Ellington is a two-guard who hits nearly 40% of his threes it can be hard to imagine why his future in the league is in doubt. After all, every team needs a spot-up shooter. But while 40% from three is pretty good, it’s not quite good enough to make up for everything else. Ellington is a touch un-athletic and a touch undersized for a two and so has a tough time both guarding the NBA’s many dynamic scoring guards and finishing inside of 20 feet (last year he hit only 40.9% of his twos–not so great). And these lacks seem to cause him to play a touch too fast, exacerbating his already below average ballhandling and causing him to make hurried decisions. So we’ve got an undersized, turnover-prone two-guard with a career true shooting percentage of .509. Wayne’s got some work to do.