Monta Ellis Draft Capsule
VITALS: 6-3, 175, Lanier High School (Jackson, Mississippi)
OVERVIEW: Ellis averaged 38.4 points in leading Lanier High School to the Class 4A championship as a senior. The creative guard also posted averages of 7.9 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 4.5 steals to earn Mr. Basketball honors in the state of Mississippi. Ellis scored a career-high 72 points against Greenwood and also had big games against some of his toughest opponents. He tallied 42 points against South Gwinnett and fellow draft prospect Louis Williams, and he matched that total against Oak Hill Academy, annually one of the top programs in the nation.
LIKELY DRAFT POSITION: Ellis is a bit of a wild card. He has enormous potential as a scoring point guard but likely is a few years away from prime-time NBA minutes. Teams have begun to shy away from players who might not be ready to make a contribution in the short term. This might knock Ellis down to the late stages of the first round or even the early part of the second round.
COMPARATIVE UPSIDE: Gilbert Arenas
COMPARATIVE DOWNSIDE: Khalid Reeves
ROLE PROJECTION: Eventual scoring point guard.
POSITIVES: Ellis scored over 4,000 points in high school, so it is obvious he knows how to find the basket and what being the go-to guy is like. He has the quickness to keep defenders from playing up in his face; they will have to give him a cushion and see if he can make the perimeter shot often enough to hurt them. Despite the huge point totals, he is not known to be a selfish player and his teammates enjoyed playing with him.
SHORTCOMINGS: Ellis is making a tough transition from shooting guard to point guard. This is tough enough when the player making the transition is a college star, but for a player coming from high school, it is going to take a team that really believes in his abilities to make that leap of faith.