Dwyane Wade has watched plenty of great three-point shooters up close during his 15 years in the NBA.
But few have left Wade impressed with their combination of speed and accuracy the way Wayne Ellington has in the short time they’ve been teammates.
“I’m always impressed with guys that move the way Wayne moves,” Wade said. “It’s impressive. Kyle Korver is one of those guys. You have two like that in Philly with JJ Redick and [Marco] Belinelli, non-stop moving and that’s not easy. They’ve got people hitting them, people grabbing them and he’s coming off and shooting and they’re not wide open shots.”
Ellington is bearing down on a Heat three-point shooting milestone held by one of Wade’s former teammates.
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Ellington, who is putting up career numbers in scoring (11.1 points per game), has made 181 three-pointers (also a career-high) entering Monday night’s game in Portland, and is averaging a career-best 2.9 three-pointers made per game.
That pace would bring him to 224.5 makes this season, and would come very close to matching Damon Jones’ Heat franchise record 225 made threes in a season that he set during the 2004-05 season.
Ellington was on pace to make 229 threes before a left quad bruise recently forced him to miss four games. He seemed to get back into rhythm this past Saturday, scoring 17 points — his highest point total since Jan. 27 — in his second game back.
Ellington currently ranks sixth on the Heat’s all-time list in made threes trailing in ascending order — Voshon Lenard (183), Glen Rice (185), two marks set by Tim Hardaway (189 and 203) and Jones.
Ellington became the seventh Heat player to participate in the NBA All-Star Game’s three-point shooting contest earlier this year joining Rice, Jason Kapono, Daequan Cook and James Jones, all of whom won the competition, as well as Jon Sundvold and Mario Chalmers.
While Ellington is keeping his focus on helping the Heat secure a postseason berth during its final 15 games, he acknowledged the prestige of such a benchmark on a club that has had numerous great shooters in its 30-year history.
“It would be amazing, honestly, especially at a championship organization like this one to set a record for anything is amazing and would be an unbelievable accomplishment,” Ellington said. “Obviously, winning is the priority so if I do it, I want to do it within the team flow we have going on and hopefully we can get that done.”
Wade said he spoke about Ellington breaking the record with Jones, who is an assistant coach with the Cavaliers, while in Cleveland earlier this season.
“I talked about that with Damon earlier in the season and I wanted Wayne to get it then before he was my teammate,” Wade said. “I want him to get it now so hopefully we get him going down the stretch.”
Wade credited Ellington’s ability to keep himself in prime physical shape as a major factor for his consistency. Ellington broke the club’s single-season mark for most games with six or more threes made doing that nine times this season.
“Wayne works very hard on his conditioning but on shots he shoots in a game,” Wade said. “That’s why he’s got the ultra green light to shoot them because he puts the work in on them. Once he hits one, you don’t know what’s going to happen the rest of the night so it definitely is an added bonus when he came back the last game because we definitely missed the attention that is out there on him while he’s on the floor. If he’s on the floor attention has to go to him and then the attention goes to me so a lot of times if we’re playing together that’s great. It brings two players that draw attention so it frees up guys. With his ability to knock down shots you always have to respect him and we need that. We definitely need a shooter like that.”