NBA Draft: Outlook For The Kansas Jayhawks

Feb 6, 2016; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) and guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) react after coming out of the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 6, 2016; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) and guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) react after coming out of the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

With the NBA draft just two days away, we reached out to Upside & Motor’s Chris Stone for the latest on draft positions for Cheick Diallo, Wayne Selden, and Perry Ellis.

Chris Stone was kind enough to do a Q&A session with us for this article. You can follow him on Twitter (@cstonehoops) and read more from him over at Upside & Motor and Rush The Court’s Big 12 Blog.

The NBA Draft is coming up on Thursday – June 23 – night, and right now there are multiple draft projections with Cheick Diallo in the first round, and Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis in the second round. If Diallo doesn’t make it into the lottery, it will be the first time since 2009.

We’ve seen your mock drafts for FanSided, but can you give us a range of where you think Cheick Diallo, Wayne Selden, and Perry Ellis will go?

"Sure. After a tough year at Kansas, I think Diallo has pretty convincingly played himself into the first round. It’s possible he could go at 19 to Indiana given that franchise’s penchant for drafting college players and their need for another big man, but I’d guess he comes off the board somewhere in the 20s.Selden projects to be a second rounder. There’s a lot of talent there and he has an NBA ready body, but it’s a big question mark if he can be a consistent outside shooter.Ellis is a bit of a crap shoot given that if he gets drafted it will be somewhere in the second round, a time when team’s typically find their hopeful diamonds in the rough and fire away regardless of if they’re in the 40 range or later. I think it’s more likely that Ellis will actually go undrafted, though, and find a place with a team of his choosing for Summer League."

Related Story: Chris Stone's Latest Mock Draft

Of the teams drafting in each of those ranges, where do you think each player would find the most success? Is any particular coach or system a “great fit” for Diallo, Selden, or Ellis? 

"Lately, I’ve been a pretty big fan of Diallo finding his way to Toronto at 27, which is on the lower end of his range, but is also a place where I could see him succeeding. The Raptors will likely lose backup center Bismack Biyombo this summer to a large contract from another team and I think Diallo could come in and ultimately fill that void as a high energy big who can block some shots and score garbage buckets.Selden would seemingly do well in a system that let’s him get out in transition to showcase his athleticism, but also brings out the best in him as a defender. He’s going to need someone to force him to use his physical tools to make it in the league, I think.For Ellis, it’s more a matter of finding a team willing to let him be an offensive focal point in a second unit. His biggest red flag at the next level is whether or not he can defend anybody, but by playing against opposing second units, he should be able to minimize that concern. Ellis succeeded at Kansas as a pick-and-pop power forward who could stretch the floor and attack off the dribble. If he can find a coach willing to let him do that coming off the bench, I think that’s his ideal fit."

Cheick has been getting some great reviews lately from his workouts. Did this surprise you at all after his season in Lawrence? Have you heard much else about his play in these workouts?

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"It shouldn’t be surprising that Diallo has succeeded in workouts. He’s a great athlete who plays with a high motor. He struggled at Kansas because he couldn’t yet grasp the complexities of Bill Self’s offensive system, so being put in a more open environment allowed him to out hustle the prospects he shared the court with. It’s hard to teach motor and that seems to be one of the reasons Diallo is earning some hype in the pre-draft process."

How do you feel Perry fits into the league? What is his ceiling?

"If Ellis sticks in the league, it’s going to be as a stretch power forward. He’s not quick enough to guard small forwards and he’s not going to be big enough to bang down low. The good news is that with the league going smaller, there’s a bigger place for Ellis. He’ll probably cap out as a rotation player. He hasn’t shown the defensive chops to play more than 10-15 minutes per game and his poor passing skills on offense make him a pretty one-dimensional scorer. Still, he’s really good at that and it might be enough to earn him a spot."

Lastly, to put you on the spot, which player has the longer career in the NBA? Does one of them end up playing longer overseas?

"Cheick seems likely to have the longest NBA career out of any of the Jayhawks’ prospects even if it takes him a bit of time to adjust to the league and sort out a role. I could see him failing to impress during his rookie contract, but earning a second opportunity on a short-term deal to make a name for himself just like Biyombo.The best overseas option might actually be Selden. He excelled against international competition during the World University Games because he was able to take advantage of his size. If he doesn’t find a consistent place on an NBA roster, I could see him going overseas and earning a nice living for many years to come."

We will have more coverage of the draftees on Friday, hopefully with all three getting drafted into the league. Right now, we expect Diallo to end up missing the lottery, and Selden to get his name called in the second round.