Knicks Draft Profile: Washington State forward CJ Elleby

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Mar 14, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Washington State Cougars forward CJ Elleby (2) dribbles against the Colorado Buffaloes during the second half at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Knicks consider Washington State’s CJ Elleby in the 2020 NBA Draft?

All PAC-12 honoree CJ Elleby is an underrated three-point shooter and shot creator who could fill two areas of need for the New York Knicks if they decide to select the 20-year old in the second round of this year’s NBA draft.

During the regular season, the Knicks were ranked dead last in three-pointers made. As a result, Leon Rose’s pre-draft shopping list looks like a bunch of names with various NBA 2K shooting badges scribbled next to them.

Enter CJ Elleby.

A six-foot-seven, 200-pound forward, Elleby shot 36% on 346 three-pointers attempted over his two seasons at Washington State. The Seattle-native is no stranger to the draft process as he participated in pre-draft workouts for both the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers last year. But a year later, Elleby made his decision to leave Pullman, Washington, hoping to join fellow former Cougar Klay Thompson in the NBA.

Coming out of high school, Elleby was a three-star recruit and did not receive many scholarships. But times have changed and Elleby’s star has grown. This past season he was a major cog in the engine that spurred Washington State to its first .500 record season in eight years. With key wins against programs like UCLA, Washington (twice), and Oregon (ranked 8th at the time), Elleby averaged over 18 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, on 39% shooting from the field and 33% shooting from the three-point line.

The shooting percentages won’t wet the palate, but keep in mind, it’s always easier to draft a blue-chip prospect with impressive statistics than finding the diamond in the rough that will improve with NBA spacing, talent teammates, and a more defined role. With that said, let’s review Elleby’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall fit with the Knicks.

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