Central Notes: Ellington, Cavs, Middleton, Pistons

Wayne Ellington has seen significant minutes since joining the Pistons, a stark contrast from his previous situation with the Heat. Miami traded him to Phoenix on February 7, with both sides then reaching a buyout to allow him to enter free agency and sign with Detroit.

Ellington has averaged 28.5 minutes in his first four games with his new team, including a 33-minute contest against Boston before All-Star Weekend.

“Wayne showed in his minutes against Boston that he’s picked up things pretty quickly,” head coach Dwane Casey said, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

Ellington has started in the last two games for the Pistons — including the team’s 119-96 victory over the Heat on Saturday — proving his worth as a valuable shooting guard capable of spreading the floor around Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and others.

Ellington spent much of the All-Star break studying plays and prepping for his ascension to the starting five, according to Beard. It’s possible that he remains in this role for an extended time, with the Pistons currently fighting for a playoff berth alongside Brooklyn, Charlotte, Orlando, Miami and Washington.

There’s more out of the Central Division today:

  • The Cavaliers are not interested in tanking and plan to play at a playoff pace the rest of the season, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes“With everybody coming back and guys really coming into their own — myself, Cedi (Osman), Collin (Sexton) has been playing great — I would like to see us, if you start the season today, I would like to see us in the playoffs,” Larry Nance Jr. said. “Look, I know we’re not going to make the playoffs. I know that. I’m talking about finishing top eight in the conference just over the final 23 games.” Despite his honesty, Nance Jr. recognized the importance of continuing to play with a competitive fire until the season ends.
  • Zach Lowe of ESPN.com details the game of Bucks guard Khris Middleton, a rare kind of second star who’s expected to reach free agency this July. Middleton, an NBA All-Star, has averaged 17.3 points on 38% shooting from 3-point range with the team this season. “It’s amazing how Khris has grown,” teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “As a team, we have clicked. It is something special.”
  • Pistons center Andre Drummond still has plenty of room to improve, Rod Beard writes in his mailbag for The Detroit News. Drummond, 25, makes up a talented Detroit frontcourt alongside Blake Griffin. Beard also discussed the role of Svi Mykhailiuk, whether the team can build a successful roster around Griffin, and more.
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16 thoughts on “Central Notes: Ellington, Cavs, Middleton, Pistons

  1. Burgeezy

    I like that some of the younger players are coming into their own, but the Cavs need to continue to lose in order to retain their first round pick and to continue to infuse young talent.

    • I don’t think that’ll be a problem and I agree with you. Take a look at the rest of the schedule!

  2. Z-A

    Cleveland is a dumpster fire. Players cant even see the bigger picture. They already have LT deals most of them. Yall are terrible this season continue to tank, get better via draft, push to make playoffs in 2019.

    • Codeeg

      Players will do their best because they want to get paid. It is the coaching staff and FO that’s going to run plays and rosters that lose. Players know they could be traded at any moment so improving is probably for their best.

      • Z-A

        Nance is signed until 22-23. So your comment makes zero sense for this thread. If he was a FA trying to ball out okay, but no one is trading for him and their team is only going to improve via the draft bc no major FA is going to sign with them bc they do not have a single elite player on their roster other than a broken down K Love.

        • D$!LLKU$H-og

          They can go .500 the rest of the way and still be in the bottom 8. There’s no way they’ll have more wins than the Pels and Wizards and unlikely they’ll have more wins than Memphis.

          • Z-A

            Right now the worst they can be is 7th. While I dont think this is a weak draft class, 1-4 is where you need to pick. If they end up with the 5th worst record, which is possible, they could end up as low as 9th overall that would be a waste of a tank season.

        • bravesfan88

          Let’s face it, no one is signing with Cleveland, for the same reason no free agents ever sign with Cleveland…Like Joakim Noah once famously so eloquently stated, “I’ve never heard anyone saying I’m going to Cleveland on vacation.”

          Cleveland attracting free agents has little to do with their level of talent, or lack thereof, it’s mainly because, well…..it is Cleveland..lol

        • Codeeg

          Honestly it’s silly to even argue any of this. Intentional tanking is bad for the NBA. I don’t care if you think it’s smart because you’re basically arguing for players to not even try. Might as well not even be a fan if you enjoy bad basketball.

          • Z-A

            The only way their team gets better is via the draft. Their current roster is trash, and no one will sign there. Soooo how is it “good basketball” if they’re going to suck, just dont suck too much to get a good draft pick just suck enough not to make the playoffs? Good logic.

            • Codeeg

              Why even play then? Your logic is basically tanking is good for them pick wise, but man I’d hate to be a fan who is paying to watch these last few games if they do what you want.
              Is disingenuous to the actual game being played to treat it as a novelty for a pick. I understand the bigger picture but I’d much rather be a fan seeing bad players try than asking your good players to play terribly.

        • x%sure

          There are more players than Nance. You’re all disjointed. Tanking out the season accomplishes nothing at this point. Might as well roar.

          • x%sure

            @ZA^, @braves- Thats why when you have a guy who wants to stay, you sign them to do so. Locals are tired of players who want to be somewhere else. They don’t even finish their contract anymore (Irving).

            • Z-A

              They only have 3 players LT. Love, Nance, and Sexton two of which they overpaid to stay. And tanking preserves your Top-7 pick, most likely will be Top-4. The better they finish record-wise the worse their pick will be. You’re telling me they’d be better off not getting Cam Reddish, RJ Barrett or Ja Morant?

    • x%sure

      Everyone sees the bigger picture, the value of tanking, it’s not some secret knowledge known only by a select brilliant few. It is common knowledge for common people and a favorite of the sophmoric. Lose get high draft picks. Everyone gets it.

      Is it the best route is the question. The Cavs are locked into a high pick regardless. So why play like losers? I applaud Nance who outplays people.

      ZionW #1 is a delight but must stay healthy and his shoes will not be the main problem with that.
      Nassir Little #9 a giant-killer will put his opposition in foul trouble trying to stop him.
      PJ Washington #59– Agree with Kellogg & everyone else on tv who brought him up, nobody is playing better. He’s a more clever Rui. These are players that find a way.

  3. By the looks of the remaining schedule, the Cavs could lose the rest of the games or maybe 2 or 3 at best. It won’t be long and the Cavs will be back on top.

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