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Stock watch: Perry Ellis would be great fit for playoff team

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In a perfect world, a standout at a prominent college basketball program would love to transition to the NBA with a playoff team and keep that winning feeling rolling.

For plenty of rookies entering the league, though, such a dream scenario simply isn’t possible. If you’re a top pick, the odds are stacked against you, because a different set of odds are stacked in favor of the losing-est franchises.

Maybe former Kansas forward Perry Ellis will be one of the lucky souls who avoids the mediocrity to downright awfulness of playing for a struggling organization.

As of this week, DraftExpress.com doesn’t project Ellis to be drafted at all. So there is at least one positive to not being considered a lottery pick. Should that projection prove true and 60 selections go by without Ellis hearing his name called, he could sign as a free agent with any number of teams. He’d actually have some options.

In the past week, the 6-foot-8 Wichita native has attended pre-draft workouts with Boston, which tied for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference this past season, and Toronto, which won 56 games and reached the conference finals.

Speaking with reporters after his workout with the Raptors, Ellis described what intrigued him about the possibility of getting drafted into a winning organization such as Toronto.

“I felt like they had a great season. Great team. I love the way they play as a team together,” Ellis said, “and I mean it would just be an honor to get anywhere.”

Perry Ellis, from Kansas, participates in the NBA Draft basketball combine Friday, May 13, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Perry Ellis, from Kansas, participates in the NBA Draft basketball combine Friday, May 13, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Ellis, like many young players chasing their dream, sincerely might not care which team takes him (or signs him) as long as he has a spot in the NBA. But considering the man played for a KU program that went 116-30 (.795 winning percentage) over the past four seasons, you know the competitor in him would prefer joining the ranks of a successful franchise.

Already, Ellis has worked out for six different teams — “I’ve still got like five more to go,” he revealed. But he isn’t about to lose any steam now, with his future as a professional at stake. Ellis said he recovers from his sessions and travels by getting in a cold tub whenever possible.

According to the 22-year-old, the intensity of his Toronto workout ranked pretty high, as he played with and against guards and bigs.

“It was just quick and precise,” Ellis said, “just getting to it and doing everything at 100 percent, and then going to the next thing.”

One question often surrounding Ellis’ potential at the next level involves which position he would play. He doesn’t really look or perform like a traditional power forward or small forward. As far as he is concerned, though, he is capable of playing the 3 or 4.

“Just whatever a team may need,” Ellis responded, when asked to identify his ideal position. “I can kind of mold myself into it. I feel I can do a lot of different things, so that’s kind of what I’m thinking.”

Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) gets a shot off against Maryland forward Jake Layman (10) during the second half, Thursday, March 24, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) gets a shot off against Maryland forward Jake Layman (10) during the second half, Thursday, March 24, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. by Nick Krug

As Ellis bounces around from city to city on his job interview tour, he hopes to prove himself as a high-character player who will compete “as hard as he can” on each possession, and do a lot of things on the court.

His college coach, Bill Self, said he spoke with Ellis, Wayne Selden Jr. and Cheick Diallo early this week to catch up on their pre-draft progress.

“Perry says everything’s going good,” Self shared. “Of course, you know guys all think they’re doing well. If you’re a baseball guy and strike out three times in a game, you ask him how he played, ‘Hey, I had a great game.’ So that’s how guys always are.”

“I do think Brannen (Greene) and Cheick and Perry and Wayne have all had good tryouts for the most part,” Self added. “I’ve got word back from several teams that they like all of them.”

None by Phoenix Suns

Whatever happens at the NBA Draft on June 23, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Ellis will join some team as early as this summer on the momentum of a successful college career, which should be an attractive selling point for his future employer. You know what kind of person and offensive player you’re getting with Ellis.

“Playing four years at Kansas,” he said, “I gained so much confidence, learned so much as a player under Coach Self, so I feel like it benefited me a lot.”

Toronto seems like a nice potential fit for Ellis. The Raptors don’t currently own a second-round pick in this year’s draft, but those tend to be easily acquired on draft night, should they choose to snag Ellis late in the game.

The Raptors, for all their success this year, could always use some more scoring. Once you get past guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, and some points inside from Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto doesn’t have many easy ways to get points.

One could envision Ellis coming in off the bench for some scoring punch on that roster. Even if he isn’t a true 4 or 3, you know he is quick enough to get by larger defenders and post up smaller guys when mismatches occur.

And wouldn’t a carved-out scoring role for a contender be a lot more fun than getting more shots for a bad team? We’ll see if Ellis turns out so lucky.

Comments

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 11 months ago

Mario Chalmers is an example of a guy that was a lower pick but went to a highly ranked team. Getting drafted by Miami was part 2 of Mario's Miracles in '08.

Jay Scott 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm not sure that Chalmers was the first lower rated player to go to a winning team...... Thats kinda how the draft is structured.

John Randall 5 years, 11 months ago

Surprising you two know-it-alls don't realize that Chalmers was the #1 pick – in the second round, which was #31 overall.

Also, no guaranteed 3yr contract – free agency after rookie season.

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