PROJECTED DRAFT RANGE: Henry Ellenson is projected as an early to mid-lottery pick based on his potential as an NBA scorer and rebounder. He is ranked ninth on Jonathan Givony’s latest Top 100 Prospects list for DraftExpress, and he’s second among pure power forwards behind international prospect Dragan Bender. ESPN’s Chad Ford ranks Ellenson sixth overall, citing his ability to score in the low post, his impressive shooting range and an “excellent motor.” Ellenson’s ability to match up with centers in smaller lineups could enhance his NBA prospects.
RISE/FALL: Ellenson is attractive because he has a natural position in the NBA and the skills to quickly become an effective scorer and rebounder. Givony says it’s easy to project him being picked fifth through 10th based on his abilities and the other talent available. The first two picks seem almost certain to be LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram, but the draft gets more unpredictable from there. If a team believes Ellenson can develop into a dependable 3-point shooter and become a more polished passer, he may go earlier than expected. But if concerns about his defense persist through the predraft workouts, teams may be worried that he’ll be too much of a liability as the league moves to smaller lineups and a faster-paced game.
FIT: The Pelicans, who were trying to deal center Omer Asik earlier this year, may be interested in another big man. There has also been speculation that the Nuggets may want to unload Kenneth Faried, who still has three years and more than $38.76MM left on his current deal, and find a younger, cheaper alternative. The Raptors, who have the Knicks’ pick that is currently slotted ninth and who started 35-year-old Luis Scola at power forward, could be interested, along with the Bucks, who may well try to find a taker for Greg Monroe.
FINAL TAKE: Ellenson has proven himself at the college level and is ready to take on the NBA challenge. The team that drafts him has a fairly good idea of what it’s getting — an offensively skilled power forward who can rebound and has the size to play center when necessary. He has the potential to expand his offensive game, but that comes with defensive issues that threaten to limit his playing time until he can overcome them. Ellenson may not be a star in his first season, but he should be ready to step into someone’s rotation right away.
(For Part One of Henry Ellenson’s prospect profile, click here.)