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Kings add Keon Ellis, Jared Rhoden and more in undrafted free agency

Kings had a few interesting post-draft signees.
By | 0 Comments | Jun 24, 2022

The 2022 NBA Draft is over and Keegan Murray is the newest member of the Sacramento Kings. But who else did the Kings pick up? While no second round picks were made by them, the Kings did pick up a few undrafted free agents.

Here is a quick look the new guys:

Keon Ellis, Alabama, G

Ellis is steal for the Kings to have on a two-way contract. He is a player many people assumed would get drafted in the second round, but somehow found himself undrafted. Ellis was one of the best two-way guards in the nation this past year and earned a spot on the SEC All-Defensive team (2022). He led Alabama in rebounding, steals, 3-point percentage, and free-throw percentage with 6.1, 1.9, 36.6%, and 88.1% respectively.

Alabama coach Nate Oats identifies Ellis as, “He’s your classic 3-and-D guy” — a role that can benefit Sacramento greatly and immediately. At just under 6-foot-5, 167 pounds and with a 6-foot-8.5 wingspan, Ellis lacks the size to guard bigger players. But he has the skills and length to guard one through three very well. Even though he is on a two-way, we are likely to see him move up permanently at some point during the season. He was teammates with defensive talent Herb Jones who was a standout rookie in the NBA this past year. Hopefully he can bring that same energy to Sacramento.

Jared Rhoden, Seton Hall, F

Rhoden, though not one of the more talked about players in the country, actually had a very successful college career. A three-year starter at Seton Hall, Rhoden helped his school reach the NCAA Tournament three times and was named first-team All-Big East (2022). He was even named Men’s Division I player of the week in March of this past season.

At 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, Rhoden averaged 15.5 points and 6.7 rebounds in his senior year and improved his shooting ability. He can shoot from deep but is very confident in his mid-range game. Rhoden is also a very active defender and is another typical 3-and-D guy that fills necessary holes for the Kings.

In an interview earlier this week, Rhoden was quoted as saying, “I might not be the top dude on mock drafts, but I will be one of the few that has a long NBA career. Ten to 15 years from now, you’re going to see me on a roster still.”

This is the sort of mentality any coach can get behind. On a Exhibit 10 deal, it wouldn’t be surprising if Rhoden worked his way into a two-way deal sooner than later. He has talent, a great work ethic, and the right mindset for an underdog player.

Jeriah Horne, Tulsa, F

Horne has had one of the most intriguing journeys of any college athlete in this class. He played at Nebraska his freshman year before transferring to Tulsa for his next two years. He then left Tulsa for Colorado. But then he transferred back to Tulsa for his final season. Very uncommon, but not weird enough to avoid him as a player.

Whatever led him away from Tulsa must not have been too major, because when he returned he had his most productive season ever, averaging 16.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He also made 41.5% of his 3s on more than 5 attempts per game. At 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, Horne is tall and strong with the ability to provide additional scoring and rebounding to the roster much like Rhoden. Wing depth and shooting were two of the biggest holes on Sacramento’s roster. Horne fills both. He is currently on an Exhibit 10 deal but will be looking to earn a two-way contract during Summer League.

Alex O’Connell, Creighton, G

O’Connell is the only guard out of the players Sacramento has signed this summer. However, he will likely also play at the three due to his size and athleticism. At 6-foot-6 and 185 pounds, O’Connell is taller than most of his matchups at guard but not very heavy. He is also sneaky athletic, sporting a max vertical of 41 inches.

O’Connell began his college career at Duke, but transferred to Creighton after three seasons. This past season at Creighton, he averaged 11.8 points and 5.3 rebounds en route to a second round exit in the NCAA Tournament. His stats are not the sexiest and he isn’t a well known guy. However, he has a lot of potential and can be a good role player in the right system.

O’Connell is only the fourth player in history to compete in the College Slam Dunk Contest and Three-Point Shootout during the Final Four of the Men’s NCAA Tournament. He’s tall, versatile offensively, and a tenacious rebounder. Also on an Exhibit 10 deal, he can add some much-needed depth to the Kings after some time proving himself in the G League.

Jai Smith, Overtime Elite, F

Probably the most interesting guy of the group, Smith has agreed to play with the Sacramento Kings during Summer League where he will have the chance to earn himself a contract. Unlike most, Smith did not play in college, the G League, or overseas. He instead played for the brand new Overtime league. A place for players not looking to go to college but are not yet eligible for the NBA.

Ranked 237 in the class of ‘22 by 247sports, the 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward had offers from the likes of Baylor, Auburn, and Alabama. However, he elected to take a unique route. Smith is strong and athletic but very raw. He averaged 14.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game this past season and has a strong paint game. However, he is not a great shooter and can’t space the floor well. His coaches and teammates had high praise for him saying he is unfazed by the noise, high-energy, and an overall great person and player. It’s hard to profile a player in his situation, but the Kings could have an interesting project on their hands.

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