Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
by Joe Beguiristain

If you’ve followed the NBA long enough, you know there is a decent amount of conjecture about the Miami HEAT organization and what it takes to be successful with the team. When a player puts that jersey on, there are certain standards and benchmarks that must be met.

That has never been an issue for Wayne Ellington.

“I just feel like I’m a HEAT guy,” Ellington said. “Obviously on the court, I learned a lot since I did come here last summer. I’ve really taken more of a serious and committed approach to my game, to my work ethic and to my training.

Just being able to get in that type of shape that’s the standard around here, and seeing those results for myself just allows me to elevate my game and I feel like I fit perfectly here.”

Recently, Ellington flew out west to support the HEAT’s Summer League squad in Vegas. While there, both he, James Johnson and Tyler Johnson saw Criss Angel’s MINDFREAK LIVE! show.

Had a blast last night at the @crissangel show! Appreciate the love and hospitality. #mindfreak

A post shared by Wayne Ellington (@wayne_elli) on

“When I was younger, I watched Criss Angel, David Blaine and those guys,” Ellington said. “It was cool to be able to see something like that in person, to get to come to one of his shows. He showed us…a lot of love, so that was a very cool show for us.”

Before signing with Miami last offseason, Ellington played for six NBA teams, including a rebuilding Minnesota Timberwolves squad when he first entered the league and a veteran-laden Dallas Mavericks unit that pushed the San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the first round of the 2014 Playoffs.

Although he’s proven to be a knock-down shooter with those teams in the past, the former Tar Heel set a single-season career high with 149 made 3-pointers last season.

How does he plan to follow that up?

“First and foremost, just putting the work in. Plain and simple,” Ellington said. “Just getting my reps up, just doing little things trying to get a little quicker release sometimes and just working on things that I can create more space to get off shots.

I feel like now this upcoming season when I come on the court, I’m going to have a target on me…so now I’m focusing on being able to go and hunt for it a little bit more.”

In addition to all the work he’s done on the court to get ready for next season, Ellington also gains insight by studying some of his favorite shooters.

“I watch Ray [Allen]. I watch Rip [Hamilton]. I watch how they came off screens, how they set their guy up, how they play games with their defenders, how they created space in order to get an open look. Those are all things that I’m working on.”

This will be the first time Ellington returns for a consecutive season with a team since his third year in the league. The newfound continuity and comfort of a clearly defined role should bode well for the swingman as he helps the HEAT strive to resolve some unfinished business.

‘The Man with the Golden Arm’ is ready for his encore.