23. Monta Ellis (40th Pick, 2005)
Ellis slipped in the draft due to uncertainty about his NBA projections coming directly from high school. The “undersized” 2-guard silenced the critics emphatically by becoming one of the top scorers in the league in short order. From ’08-’15, Ellis averaged 20.8 PPG and also developed into a decent playmaker with 5.1 APG. In 2010, Ellis finished 6th in PPG. The only five players ahead of him? Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade. You’ve probably heard of them.
Not to mention, Ellis joined the league at perhaps the worst possible time for a player of his size and skill-set. He entered his prime right as mid-range gunners were being phased out, and his decline began as quick-twitch, scoring guards were starting to become empowered in wide-open, up-tempo offenses. Ellis’ shot-making ability would have been treasured in the 90’s while his speed and burst would have made him a nightmare matchup in today’s game.
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