Keon Ellis

Six stats that show Ellis' defensive impact amid Kings' playoff push

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Keon Ellis' defensive impact has been felt since he recently earned a spot in the Kings' rotation.

After stringing together a couple of impressive performances, however, it has become more than just a feeling as the numbers and stats are backing up Ellis' influence.

Here are six stats that show just how impactful that young guard has been since becoming an essential part of Sacramento's rotation:

The undrafted guard out of Alabama signed a two-way contract with Sacramento in 2022 before earning another two-way last July, spending most of his time with Sacramento's G League affiliate in Stockton.

But with Kings coach Mike Brown's defensive scheme not going according to plan after nearly two years in Sacramento, new opportunities arose for Ellis, who has made the most of every single second he has touched the floor.

And it paid off -- literally -- last month when the Kings rewarded the young guard with a standard, multiyear NBA contract.

The move has been beneficial for the Kings, too, as Ellis has helped lift Sacramento on the defensive side of the spectrum and whose defensive presence will be crucial down the final stretch of the 2023-24 NBA season.

Ellis' recent performances include the tough assignments of guarding some of the league's best, including Damian Lillard, D'Angelo Russell and Jalen Brunson.

Lillard struggled, finishing with just 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting from the field and 1 of 6 from 3-point range after averaging 24.4 points on 42.3 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from downtown this season. Ellis then contained Russell, who was on a recent hot stretch with the Lakers, to just six points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field and 1 of 4 from deep.

And fans can enjoy this video just for fun.

With Kings guard Kevin Huerter out for at least Wednesday's game due to a dislocated left shoulder and whose status thereafter is unknown, Ellis will start in his place.

Sacramento is playing some of its best defense right now, with Ellis undeniably a huge factor in that, and it couldn't have come at a better time with the playoffs around the corner.

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