Suns Draft Profile: Henry Ellenson
6’11” 242 lbs PF
2015-16 Stats at Marquette: 33.5 MPG, 17.0 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.5 BPG, 0.8 SPG
Henry Ellenson is an intriguing prospect that the Suns could possibly pick up with the 13th pick, if he’s still on the draft board. Ellenson has the prototypical size for a big man that projects to play the power forward position, with the possibility of filling the center spot as well. With the stretch four being a featured piece on many of today’s NBA rosters, he projects to be able to fill that role right out of the gate. He just played one season at Marquette, where he nearly averaged a double-double, and will be entering the draft as a 19-year-old. Ellenson has plenty of room to improve his game, and there should be a few teams willing to draft him in the mid-lottery.
Ellenson has one of the best combinations of size and shooting ability in this draft class. Even though he only shot 28.8% from behind the three point line this season, he projects to be a solid shooter at the NBA level. He has great form with his jump shot and has a very fluid, effortless looking stroke. The only thing lacking in his jumper is the trajectory of the shot, as it could use a little more arc, and that is something that could easily be fixed.
Ellenson showed improvement in his post game throughout his year at Marquette, and even developed a solid turnaround jumper. He does an excellent job of using his size and strength to get good post positioning while preparing for the entry pass, as well as using his dribble to get into the right spot. Once he has himself positioned in the post, he shows great finesse and touch on his shots, especially his baby hook, which he shoots well with both hands. Ellenson has solid ball-handling skills for a player his size, and was known to start the fast break himself after grabbing a rebound. All of these tools add up to a player who is confident with the ball in his hands.
Rebounding is one of the best parts of Ellenson’s skill set. He does an excellent job making room underneath the bucket when a shot is up in the air. His strength plays a big role in his success as a rebounder, where he does an excellent job boxing out. Ellenson uses his whole body to his advantage, his height, strength, and 9’ standing reach all play a big factor in his rebounding ability. He is also very skillful at tip-ins while crashing the offensive glass.
As I started watching as much tape as I could find on Ellenson, I was about 30 minutes in when it hit me. I hadn’t seen him dunk yet. Throughout the rest of my Henry Ellenson marathon, I kept watching for a dunk. There were some nice tip-ins, lay-ins, reverse lay-ups… but no dunks. After numerous Marquette highlight-reel tapes, I see a suggestion for one of his high school mixtapes, and there I was finally rewarded with some dunks. So, what I’m getting at, is Ellenson is lacking explosiveness and quickness in his game. Ellenson can show some nice straight-line speed on the fast break, but has trouble staying in front of opponents on the defensive end and getting by his man on the dribble.
In the NBA, Ellenson will be faced with guarding some power forwards with the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. With his limited explosiveness and lateral quickness, Ellenson will struggle staying in front of his man on the defensive end of the floor. He could also look to be much more aggressive as a defender, where he will sometimes shy away from his rim-protecting responsibilities. Ellenson will sometimes show flashes of the beast in the paint he could be, but will need to work on bringing that mentality night-in and night-out if he expects to get playing time in his rookie season.
How Does He Fit?
Ellenson is definitely a guy that possesses a skill set that the Suns could really make use of. The Suns are in a position where they could double-up in drafting power forwards during this draft, which could possibly allow Ellenson to develop slowly as a member of the Suns. Being able to learn from guys like Tyson Chandler and the hopefully re-signed Mirza Teletovic would be very beneficial to a player with a skill set like Ellenson’s.
If Ellenson were to be drafted by the Suns this year, he would likely be in a battle for minutes between a free agent signing or a power forward drafted with the #4 pick. If he were to miss out on getting minutes this year, it would be nice to see him perfect his trade in the D-League. His addition to the the young Suns core of Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, and Alex Len would make a lot of sense. My advice would be to have patience in Ellenson for a couple seasons before he become a big player in the rotation.