3 Biggest surprises of the Kings’ season heading into All-Star break 

Denver Nuggets v Sacramento Kings
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2. Keon Ellis’ emergence 

If I had told Kings fans at the start of the season that Keon Ellis would be the starting point guard in three games and play well, they would have laughed in my face. After all, Ellis started the season on a two-way contract with almost no NBA experience outside of garbage time. 

It happened, however, and Ellis’ emergence as an NBA talent is one of the nicest stories of the Kings’ season. Finishing his college career as an SEC All-Defensive player in 2022, Ellis went undrafted and signed a two-way contract with the Kings. 

Now, he is on a three-year standard contract and fighting for rotational minutes. This was not just given to him, he earned it through hard work. Ellis first broke the Kings’ rotation when he left it all out on the court during a blowout loss to the Rockets. In De’Aaron Fox’s absence, he leap-frogged Davion Mitchell in the rotation for a while. 

Since you don’t just give up on a former lottery pick with great defensive potential and Ellis could only play 50 regular season games on his two-way contract, Mitchell eventually earned his spot back. With the new deal secured, Ellis got to play against the Thunder, however, having to guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and seems to be back in the mix for minutes.

Whether he plays much for the rest of the season or not, Ellis is a great young player to have around for the Kings. He competes every game, is an active defender, can shoot the three, and already scored double-digits five times this season. 

This is just the first step in Ellis’ NBA career, and it will be great to see what he will be able to do in the future.