Friday, June 14, 2024

Boogie Ellis 2024 NBA Draft Profile

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USC guard Boogie Ellis is one of several super seniors who opted to use their fifth year of eligibility prior to going pro. The 6-foot floor general shined this season even with the emergence of Bronny James and Isaiah Collier, and has since impressed scouts with his play at the NBA Draft Combine.

Boogie Ellis 2024 NBA Draft Profile

College Career

Ellis spent his first two years at Memphis, putting up 9.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game on .366/.358/.673 splits. He led the Tigers to an NIT championship behind a 23-point performance, and scored 27 in the Tigers’ AAC Tournament loss to Houston. He ended his sophomore year as the AAC Sixth Man of the Year and as a member of the All-AAC Tournament squad.

Upon arrival to Los Angeles, Ellis made an instant impact. He improved his scoring average and efficiency—12.5 PPG on .417/.376/.798 splits—while USC went 26-8 before falling to Miami in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. His senior season—when he led the Trojans in scoring and was fourth in the Pac-12 (17.7 PPG on 38% 3PT)—had many believing he’d turn pro when it was all said and done. However, Ellis ultimately decided to return for his fifth year.

The 23-year-old’s final season didn’t come without adversity. USC’s captain averaged 16.5 points and three assists per game but battled through numerous injuries in the process. Reflecting towards the end of his career with the Trojans, Ellis told the LA Times:

A lot of things in life don’t go the way you planned. But at the end of the day, you just gotta keep moving forward, just gotta make the best out of every situation.

Ellis’s return also allowed him to further mentor the team’s underclassmen, with sophomore forward Vincent Iwuchukwu telling the Times:

Boogie’s impact is so much bigger than just the offense and so much bigger than his behavior on the floor. We couldn’t ask for a better captain. His impact is always felt on the team.

Strengths

Ellis is one of the Pac-12’s best scorers, using a blend of speed, shooting and athleticism to get buckets. His perimeter game is excellent, as he knocked down 38% of his threes in college. He’s a threat to shoot off the dribble from anywhere on the floor, but especially from deep. Ellis’s 39.5-inch vertical—good for ninth at the combine—allowed him to perform crafty finishes and highlight jams despite his small frame. 

His motor also shows up defensively, as he hounds his opponents and picks pockets with ease. Ellis has minimal issues as an on-ball defender—often fighting through screens—and averaged 1.4 steals per game for USC this season.

Ellis has also improved as a playmaker, going from 1.5 assists per game as a freshman to three by his final year. He finds teammates at the right places and right times, showcasing his high IQ throughout. An area where Ellis’s playmaking shines in is the pick-and-roll, a situation he found himself in for 64% of his possessions, according to Greenlight Media. His comfortability in those plays will be a key indicator towards his success in the league.

Ellis’s combination of scoring and facilitating have made him an intriguing combo guard who can fit many teams’ systems right away.

Weaknesses

Though Ellis is active on defense, he can also be undisciplined and easy to target based on his 6’0”, 180-pound frame. He must show that he can adjust to NBA-level speed and remain engaged at all times. His offense could translate well to the league, but his ability to stop the ball will be paramount, especially as a shorter combo guard.

Ellis must also improve as a finisher, which, again, is limited because of his size. He may be crafty around the rim, but shooting was his selling point. Ellis needs to get to the rim often and show he’s not deterred by the league’s rim protectors. He also has to cut down on the turnovers, as he put up 1.8 per game this season and 1.7 for his career.

NBA Comparison

Ellis’s offensive prowess may remind some of Cam Payne, a veteran combo guard who improved as a finisher but has been primarily known for his shooting. Ellis shares Payne’s skills and stature, and could command a similar role if things work out in the NBA. Another comparison for Ellis—one dating back to his high school days—is DJ Augustin, a recently-retired and undersized point guard who was also efficient from the perimeter.

2024 NBA Draft Projection

Potential second-round pick.

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