Timber-Wolf: Improvement From Within—Jonny Flynn and Wayne Ellington

Timber WolfAnalyst IIMay 3, 2010

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 19:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives around Wayne Elllington #19 of the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 19, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Ah, the rookies.

The 6th and 28th picks in the 2009 NBA draft. One, a college ball elite that increased his stock in NBA draft workouts and quite possibly the greatest college basketball game of all time. The other, a sharpshooter on any level of basketball that was the NCAA's Most Outstanding Player, a championship clutch competitor.

Jonny Flynn and Wayne Ellington.

Jonny Flynn was named to the 2nd-rookie all team, and Wayne Ellington was put in a class of elite three point shooters as a rookie, shooting nearly 40% from the three point line during the season, and was the 2nd best three point shooter after January 1st of 2009, only outdone by Kyle Korver.

Needless to say that both rookies have bright futures ahead of them, but to say they don't need improvement is like saying Anderson Varejao doesn't need a haircut.

Jonny Flynn:

  • 13.5 PPG, 4.4 APG, 2.4 RPG, 1.0 SPG
  • Side Note: The three games in which Jonny Flynn did not turn the ball over each resulted in a Wolves win.

Notable games:

Jonny Flynn is a quick point guard with a low center of gravity. At times his speed is unrivaled, and combine that with his strength and you have a point guard that has excellent penetration skills. However this did not translate to him getting to the free throw line due to his inability to draw contact (for some odd reason), it did at times allow him to set up teammates on occasion.

He's also a decent shooter, and create his own shot in traffic or off the dribble. He has decent range but it could get better, he also has some leadership qualities deep inside him that will probably be awakened after this season.


Wayne Ellington

  • 6.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.0 APG
  • Side Note: While Wayne Ellington is a great three point shooter, he has never attempted more than five a game.

Notable Games:

A true off-guard, although showing a more diversified game in his high school days. A player that can play without the ball, make his proper rotations and cuts, and can really shoot the ball. Very poised and is dedicated to doing things completely perfect, can create his own shot and at times create for others.

A very smart defender with great basketball instincts. Very underrated athletically, a decent ball handler and has good court vision for a shooting guard. A clutch shooter.

Now for the improvement part.

While both rookies show promise, they are far, and I mean far from a finished product as with all rookies, unless your name is Wilt Chamberlain, or Michael Jordan.

Jonny Flynn

Jonny Flynn at times is incredibly brilliant, absolutely magnificent. He's had some draw dropping dimes, and has scored almost effortlessly at times against any type's of defense. But more often than not, that's not the Jonny Flynn that you will see.

The Jonny Flynn you will see is often the player that dribbles the ball too much for his own good, penetrates into the defense without making the proper analysis that would make that decision smart, or turning the ball over due to his own mistakes.

Jonny Flynn has a knack for scoring in bunches, but he's either hit or miss more often than not, and doesn't have a true signiture floater that Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker or Deron Williams possesses.

His defensive awareness is nothing shy of horrible. His on-the-ball defense is horrible, absolutely dismissal. There have been too many of an occasion that Aaron Brooks, or Rajon Rondo, or Chris Paul would completely blow by him or score on him, basically serving him an offensive onslaught.

He's shown very little flash in this area, and it should be one of his main priorities.

Fortunately, there's only up from this point on, as Jonny showed a little more flash towards the end of the season in multiple areas.

Offseason checklist:

  • Decision making (when and where to shoot, when to pass).
  • Defensive fundamentals (awareness, help defense, on-ball defense).
  • Leadership
  • Shot selection in the paint (floaters, pull up jumper)


If Jonny can fufill these tasks during the offseason, then the Wolves will have a fairly decent starting point guard that should mount some trade value if ever Rubio does come to the NBA via the Minnesota Timberwolves . If not, the Wolves will have probably a 6th man of the year candidate.

Next years statistics prediction: 14 PPG, 6 APG, 3 RPG, 1 SPG


Wayne Ellington

If there's a player on the Wolves roster that needs to take as many shots as he can, it'd have to be Wayne Ellington. But because of his selflessness, he defers to taking the smartest shots possible, and deferring to teammates. A great quality for now, but later on in the future, Wayne is going to have to be more aggressive.

He's a pretty smart defender, but it could be better. He has potential in this area, coming from a championship NCAA team where defense wins championships. Just ask Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer about defense.

His defensive awareness is decent, his on-ball defense is decent as well, I was fairly impressed at times when he was defending Kobe Bryant , reminded me of Thabo Sefolosha.

Slashing is a true weakpoint for Ellington, seeing that he has some ball handling deficiences that head coach Kurt Rambis has pointed out. He has darn near unlimited range, so the Wolves would benefit from a all-around offensive player.

Wayne Ellington has the chance to be a good player in the NBA, I think all Wolves fans expect him to have a big year next season.

Offseason checklist:

  • Slashing
  • Better defensive fundamentals
  • Becoming more aggressive on the offensive end

Thanks for reading!