3 Reasons this Sacramento Kings season wasn’t a total failure

Apr 19, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) has the
Apr 19, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) has the / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Keon Ellis’ emergence

Mike Brown wants to surround his stars with long, physical 3-and-D players. Keon Ellis has proven this season that he can be that kind of player. When the season first started few of us, if any, believed that Ellis would be one of the best things to happen to the Kings this season, but he has really been a bright spot. 

In just two years, he has gone from undrafted to the G League to getting a standard NBA contract and filling in as the starting shooting guard. He did not end his season well against the Pelicans, but we should not judge him too harshly for that. While it is disappointing, it is also not too surprising that a 24-year-old who just got a chance to play meaningful NBA minutes for the first time could not save the team. 

No matter what happened in the final game of the Kings’ season, discovering Keon Ellis is huge for the organization. He can shoot the three well and is an exceptional defender. No other Kings player navigates screens as well as he does or gets his hands on as many balls. 

If the Kings can develop Ellis correctly, while he is on this incredibly cheap contract, he could be a real difference-maker for years to come. Now that they know his 3-and-D skill set, the coaching staff can work with Ellis to improve his decision-making and self-creation skills to build a rotational player for the future. 

Plus, his emergence has made Kevin Huerter and maybe even Davion Mitchell more expendable. The Kings need to make moves this summer—big moves to ensure a playoff run next season—but have few picks to trade. So, they will have to move players, and Huerter is probably their most valuable trade asset. Losing him will hurt much less, knowing that Ellis is still getting better and can possibly take over for him.