As foreign players with names difficult to pronounce kept getting picked Thursday night in the NBA Draft — guys even the most ardent of sports fans have never heard of — I held out hope that Kansas’ Perry Ellis would have his name called.
But at the end of the night and after 60 selections, Ellis’ name wasn’t among them. Nor was Wayne Selden’s. Or Brannen Greene’s for that matter, but I really didn’t think anybody would take a player who basically is one-dimensional, not to mention he’s had some character issues.
But I really expected Ellis to be drafted. He’s a four-year player with an off-the-chart basketball IQ. He demonstrated this season that he has the ability to knock down the 3-pointer and has good post moves inside. The Golden State Warriors have proven the past couple of years that players 6-8 or shorter can play inside with effectiveness.
Ellis also has been a model citizen and student. That has to count for something. You know he’s going to be the hardest worker. Maybe it was his passive nature and general quietness that turned teams off.
Ellis’ teammate, Cheick Diallo, did get picked and it’s purely on potential. There were some reports he might go as high as No. 23, but he wound up sliding to the 33rd pick by the Los Angeles Clippers, though there’s a reported deal brewing with New Orleans.
Diallo most likely will be placed in the developmental league. He played a mere 202 minutes for the Jayhawks as a freshman and was mostly forgotten by the end of the year as KU had a nice rotation of bigs. There simply weren’t enough minutes for Diallo and Hunter Mickelson, though both could have been standouts for other teams.
Diallo is a raw steak. But once he starts to cook he could be a serviceable NBA player, though it will take a couple of years. His strength is his motor and wingspan, as he’ll never be an offensive force. Someday, though, I think he can have a lengthy career.
I wasn’t surprised that Selden wasn’t picked. While scouts drooled over his NBA prototype body, he’s not overly quick and his outside shot can go on hiatus. I also think he’d have trouble guarding in the league.
Why Greene declared is beyond me. Somebody got into his head that there’s always room for a shooter on a team, even if he’s clueless on defense.
At least Ellis, Selden and Greene, as well as Wichita State’s undrafted Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, can take stock of what the best situation could be for them. They can try out for teams in cities they believe would be beneficial to them. I’m sure all will get a look, even if it’s for little more than a cup of coffee.