Keon Ellis: From Undrafted to Unstoppable with the Sacramento Kings

WriterEthan Johnson

24 April 2024

Keon Ellis: From Undrafted to Unstoppable with the Sacramento Kings
  • Key Takeaway One: Keon Ellis transitioned from an undrafted player to securing a standard deal with the Sacramento Kings, showcasing remarkable growth.
  • Key Takeaway Two: An opportunity arose for Ellis when injuries opened up a spot in the starting lineup, leading to standout performances.
  • Key Takeaway Three: Ellis is now focused on improvement for the next season, aiming to solidify his place in the NBA after a storybook-esque season.

In a tale that reads like a script straight out of Hollywood, Keon Ellis' journey from being undrafted out of Alabama in 2023 to clinching a standard deal with the Sacramento Kings is nothing short of cinematic. Initially on a two-way deal, Ellis demonstrated his indispensable value on-court, earning him a more permanent spot on the team in February.

Most of his last season was spent honing his skills with the Kings' G-League affiliate in Stockton, where the 6’4 guard worked diligently on refining his offensive game. Despite playing just 71 minutes with Sacramento last season, Ellis seized his moment when the opportunity knocked in the sixth regular-season game of the 2023-24 campaign.

With star player De’Aaron Fox sidelined due to an ankle injury, and Davion Mitchell stepping into the starting lineup, there was much speculation about who would fill the remaining spot. Head Coach Mike Brown had initially envisioned Mitchell and Colby Jones ahead of Ellis for that role. However, a blowout game against the Houston Rockets presented Ellis with an unexpected opportunity to shine, and shine he did. His defensive intensity and offensive execution that night earned him a closer look from the coaching staff.

Ellis' presence on the floor became more consistent towards the final 20 games of the season, thanks in part to injuries to key players Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk. Thrust into the starting lineup, Ellis performed with the poise and confidence of a seasoned pro, proving he was where he belonged.

Reflecting on his whirlwind season during Monday's exit interviews, Ellis shared, “It’s been crazy. I don’t think it’s still hit me just yet,” expressing gratitude for the unexpected turn his career has taken. The transition to the NBA was not without its challenges, including lifestyle changes and increased public scrutiny. Ellis candidly discussed the adjustments he had to make, both on and off the court, including learning to manage public expectations and the invaluable support he received from teammates like Malik Monk and Davion Mitchell.

Looking ahead, Ellis is firmly focused on the future. With a standard roster spot secured and expectations set for him to be a key part of the rotation moving forward, the offseason presents an opportunity for Ellis to build on his encouraging debut. Despite the satisfaction of a storybook season, Ellis remains driven, already looking to improve and tackle the challenges of the next season head-on.

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About the author
Ethan Johnson
Ethan Johnson

Ethan Johnson is a seasoned writer with a deep passion for American basketball. His engaging writing style and insightful analysis have made him a go-to source for NBA enthusiasts. Known for his witty commentary and in-depth coverage, Ethan brings a fresh perspective to the world of sports journalism.

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