Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ellis’ position in NBA Draft remains a mystery

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) looks to make a move against Austin Peay forward Kenny Jones (42) during the first half, Thursday, March 17, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) looks to make a move against Austin Peay forward Kenny Jones (42) during the first half, Thursday, March 17, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.


With the NBA Draft less than a month away and the decisions about who’s staying in and who’s returning to school in the rearview mirror, the picture for the four former Kansas University basketball players eligible for this year’s draft is becoming clearer.

But while former Jayhawks Cheick Diallo (likely first round), Wayne Selden Jr. (likely second round) and even Brannen Greene (expected to go undrafted) all have a pretty good grasp on where they stand, Perry Ellis’ status remains a bit of a mystery.

Most mock drafts have Ellis listed either as a second-round pick or off the board completely. However, coaches and players who worked with and game-planned against Ellis believe his versatile skill set, off-the-charts work ethic and general demeanor have to be enough to earn him a shot in the NBA.

That’s the belief held by former Maryland star Walt Williams, a former lottery pick of the Sacramento Kings who played for six NBA teams from 1993-2002 and currently works in the Maryland athletic department.

“He’s a hard worker, and he’s probably capable of getting it done,” Williams told the Journal-World back in March. “So I would think he’ll have a decent shot.”

There is, of course, a catch.

In addition to believing what many Ellis supporters already think — that finding the right fit will be the most important factor in whether Ellis enjoys a long NBA career — Williams said some of the skills Ellis used to flourish in college will not be available to him as a pro.

“Unfortunately, he’s not the prototypical size or prototypical athleticism of the league, so it’s gonna put more pressure on his skill level to be higher,” Williams said. “He’s going to have be able to face guys up, get to the basket and be more polished around the basket with his finishing moves. He’s not gonna be able to go straight over the top of guys.”

Williams said Ellis, who measured 6-foot-8, 218 pounds at this month’s combine, reminded him a little of former Duke forward Alaa Abdelnaby, who was the 25th pick in the 1990 NBA Draft.

“Abdelnaby was a little more polished with moves at this same point,” Williams said. “But he wasn’t that athletic, and he had moves, and he had quickness on guys and made guys be in that ‘catch-up’ mode.”

That catch-up mode, which Williams described as the moment that followed beating a guy off the dribble on the way to the rim, is an area he believes Ellis can exploit because of his good ball-handling, great vision and overall intelligence.

“I’ve got this guy beat, he’s trailing, and now I’ve got to make this move,” said Williams, explaining what he believes will have to become the cornerstone of Ellis’ game in the NBA. “Backing guys off of him and being able to hit that outside shot, that’s huge. A guy his size has got to be able to hit that outside shot as well as beat guys off the dribble, bigger guys, and he showed that he can do all of that.

“I think he’s a solid player, and I think he’ll have a decent shot. It’s definitely going to be about the right team.”


Humpy Helsel 6 years, 4 months ago

Perry, Play in Europe, make money and see the world. The NBA isn't the end all if you cannot make it on a roster.

Jay Scott 6 years, 4 months ago

Where is Joe Ross to vehemently insist that Ellis is a clone of Harrison Barnes? Barnes was a lottery pick....

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