Our 2022 NBA Draft scouting report series continues with a look at Keon Ellis, a wing out of Alabama.
In a league that’s becoming more reliant on 3&D wings, it's imperative that you grab as many players that can fit that mold. The thing is that they’re very hard to come by nowadays, and sometimes you have to wait for a few seasons to see if that player develops.
The Atlanta Hawks were very short on 3&D wings this season, and if they're looking to change that, using a potential second-round pick on Alabama's Keon Ellis might be the move.
The Crimson Tide must have something in the water when it comes to molding defensive guys, because looking at what Herbert Jones did for the New Orleans Pelicans this season, you can tell his impact on that side of the floor was beneficial for them. Ellis may have learned a few things from Jones because he became the full-time starter for Alabama this year.
Ellis’ biggest strength is indeed his defense, and at 6’6, you can expect him to be able to guard positions 1 through 3 on the court. Ellis showed through his rookie season that he can be a solid point-of-attack defender with his long arms and pick from full court. He had a 3.4% steal rate and a 2.1% block rate during his time in Alabama, which was good enough to earn him All-Defense for the season.
Everything about Ellis screams speed, which is also why he is deadly playing off the ball as a defender, getting into passing lanes, and also blocking shots as the low man at his size. What we learned from watching the playoffs this season is that having a defensive guard is very important, especially one that can fight through screens, stay in front of their man, and hustle through plays.
The one thing that could hurt Ellis is his size, as he's only 167 lbs, and going up against bigger and heavier players in the league probably won’t be his strong suit to start his career.
Other than his defense, Ellis’ catch and shoot ability was big for Alabama, as he shot 36.6% from deep. The league is big on DHO and running off of screens for open looks, and that's exactly what Ellis did throughout his time in Alabama, which made up for his struggles when trying to make plays for himself with the ball in his hands. Being able to put the ball on the floor is key when playing in the NBA, so Ellis will have to improve in that area of his game if he wants to see minutes.
Footage of Alabama’s Keon Ellis at the EZ Sports Group pro day.— Jon Chepkevich (@JonChep) May 27, 2022
Wiry perimeter defensive menace who has worked his way from JUCO to being a potential 2022 NBA Draft pick.
Stars in his role as a low usage, analytically efficient wing who picks and chooses his spots offensively. pic.twitter.com/UFXqFmKc0U
Ellis also didn’t show much playmaking ability, but many guards that offer what he has don't either. If Ellis can show that he can make the right play in a tough situation, that might make teams higher on him going into the draft. Currently on the ESPN Big Board, Ellis ranks No. 64 overall and at shooting guard he ranks No. 15.
Ellis seems like the type of player that you would definitely take a chance on when going into the second round, and if he continues to build on his strengths, he can be a nice rotational piece for a team looking for perimeter defense and some three-point shooting.