MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It really is a shame that the Miami Heat’s amazing turnaround this season didn’t result in a playoff spot.
The way that the team came together after starting the year 11-30 was amazing to see.
They improved through nothing more than hard work and faith in the system that coach Erik Spoelstra was teaching, never using the constant wave of injuries as an excuse.
No matter which player had his number called, Spoelstra got production from everyone on the roster.
One of those players was veteran guard Wayne Ellington, who was on his fifth team in five years when he joined Miami in the offseason.
Having been around the league quite a bit, Ellington recognized there was something special going on with the Heat last season.
“I’ve never seen it,” Ellington said of Miami’s amazing run of 31 wins in 41 games. “I’m a student of the game, even some of the older teams. It’s something that’s special and we all realize that.”
Ellington became a vital part of the Heat’s resurgence as the year went on.
After spending the entire first month of the season watching from the bench, Ellington was thrust into action as a floor-stretching three point threat, a role he has always relished.
“That’s something that’s a strong point in my game so I take that role” he said of being known as a three point specialist. “It doesn’t bother me at all.”
Ellington shot 37.8% from three point range and 41.6% overall last year with Miami, his best shooting season since 2014 when he was with the Mavericks.
Despite missing the playoffs on a tiebreaker, several Heat players continue to show up for regular workouts and practices at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Spoelstra showed these players that by working their tails off and buying into his system, good things will happen.
Guys like James Johnson and Dion Waiters had career years last season while Ellington saw his game improve as well.
With a roster already fill of talent and salary cap relief on its way (thanks Chris Bosh), Heat players recognize that they can be a top team in the Eastern Conference next season.
“Without a doubt there’s motivated guys ready to get in the gym and work,” Ellington said. “It feels good when you get a little taste of success and now that motivates you more.”
Ellington’s full interview on 560 WQAM’s The Joe Rose Show, where he provides an update on how his offseason training is going so far and discusses teams frustration with missing the playoffs this season, is available at the top of the page.