With all the injuries -- none of them yet major -- two NBA journeymen have seemingly secured key reserve roles, writes Tim Bontemps Monday. Donald Sloan and Wayne Ellington, both 27, were not part of the Nets young, athletic push this summer, but are finding playing time in the preseason.
Sloan, who's on his fifth team in five years, got his first break last season when he filled in and did well for the injured George Hill, while Ellington, on his seventh team in seven years, did the same in Los Angeles with Kobe Bryant and a lot of other Lakers down.
Bontemps writes that Sloan has vaulted far head of Ryan Boatright in the battle for third point guard.
Sloan, who spent the past two seasons with the Pacers, had nine points, seven assists, two steals and just two turnovers in 23 minutes in Thursday’s win in Detroit. He then had four points and an assist with no turnovers in eight fourth-quarter minutes Saturday — and was praised by Hollins for his play after both games.
Similarly, Ellington did well in his first two games... even though he did little in Albany on Saturday
Ellington, a proficient 3-point shooter, has gone 7-for-15 from behind the arc, scoring 16 points in each of the first two games before going scoreless in 12 minutes Saturday, when Hollins gave others extended playing time.
Bontemps suggests that Ellington is likely to fill the role that Alan Anderson filled last year in Brooklyn. (Anderson, troubled by an ankle injury, has yet to practice with the Wizards and is unlikely to be ready for opening night.)
One big difference between the two: Ellington has a two year deal worth $3 million while Sloan has only a $50,000 guarantee through November 1 when if he's still on the roster he gets another $200,000, not being fully guaranteed until January.
As for injuries, Hollins claims not to be troubled by the wave of injuries. Bojan Bogdanovic and Willie Reed participated in Sunday's Open Practice while Andrea Bargnani, Thomas Robinson sat along with newly injured Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and two others ruled out for a while, Markel Brown and Chris McCullough. The Nets play Boston Wednesday in Brooklyn.
- Nets takeways: Why mounting injuries matter (even in preseason) - Tim Bontemps - New York Post