Charlotte Hornets: Perry Ellis on a Tear With the Greensboro Swarm

After a slow start to the season, Perry Ellis seems to have finally found his footing and will look to finish strong with the Charlotte Hornets’ D-League affiliate.

Perry Ellis struggled to start the year for the Charlotte Hornets D-League affiliate, to say the least. After going undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft, the big man out of Kansas found himself on the Hornets’ roster in the preseason. The Greensboro Swarm gave him a chance to develop his game and getting better is exactly what he’s doing.

However, his time with the Hornets was short-lived. Ellis sustained a back injury that kept him out of action, and he was unable to prove himself. After being waived, Ellis was sent down to the Greensboro Swarm and made their training camp roster, along with other Hornets hopefuls and players selected in the D-League Draft.

The undersized big man struggled mightily at the beginning of the season, as most of the minutes went to centers Mike Tobey and Shonn Miller and forward Christian Wood. Both Tobey and Wood consistently put up double-doubles for the Swarm: Tobey averaged 11 points and 8.9 boards, while Wood averaged 19.6 points and 10.1 boards.

However, with the NBA trade deadline looming, the Hornets decided to trade both Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert for the Bucks’ Miles Plumlee. Both players were called up to the Hornets.

Since both big men have departed, Ellis has stepped up and shown glimpses of potential. Though he didn’t score in double figures for the first four games in January, Ellis burst onto the scene with 16 points and give boards against the Iowa Energy.

In the past seven games, Ellis is averaging 13.9 points, with a highlight performance coming against the Maine Red Claws on January 27. Ellis tallied 19 points and a season-high 11 rebounds off the bench in the win over Maine and followed that with 23 points two games later. In the most recent win against the Long Island Nets on February 3, Ellis tallied 20 points off the bench for back-to-back 20-point contests.

With Tobey and Wood temporarily out of the picture, Ellis seems to have finally found his footing. He’s a solid rim runner who can be effective in the pick and roll, and he’s also good at finishing in transition. His midrange shooting is coming along, and the Swarm is hoping he will become a shooting threat off-the-pick and pop, a la LaMarcus Aldridge.

The big man will continue to have to fight for minutes, as it’s uncertain how long both Wood and Tobey will stay with the Hornets. Ellis isn’t a terrific rebounder and is a tweener, but if he improves his perimeter defense, many teams will want his services. He currently averages 9.2 points and 4.8 boards, and those numbers should only increase with playing time.

Here’s hoping that Ellis will continue to improve and find confidence as the season rolls along. His play will not only help the Greensboro Swarm this year but also help his chances of making the Charlotte Hornets’ roster in the future.

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