With just over 24 hours notice, and a couple days after an auspicious meeting attended by Monta's agent, Jeff Fried, Don Nelson, Chris Mullin, Robert Rowell, Larry Riley and Chris Cohan, the Warriors faithful will get a chance to welcome Monta back on the court. Fans have been trolling YouTube for snippets of video showing him practicing full speed with the team.
Coach Nelson has stated that he is back at full-strength, but I remain suspicious. Looking at his feet and ankles, it appears to me that Monta is moving around rather gingerly. Maybe its just his new-found caution.
After giving up $3M in salary and jeapordizing his whole $66M contract for a little joyride on a moped, he may have adjusted his gait from one of a galloping youngster to one better-suited for a franchise saviour.
I noticed Michael Jordan's plodding adjust after breaking his foot in his second NBA season. He maintained such a distance between himself and the rest of the NBA that his diminished physical gifts were hardly obvious.
But, there was a difference in hang time from his rookie 63-point game in the playoffs against Boston than it was when hit the game-winner over Ehlo four years later. The key was that MJ developed his outside shooting and defensive positioning to make up for a couple inches shaved off his vertical.
Does Monta find himself in a similar position? He does have that big-time aspect to his game that can be ratcheted up to eleven. The question is: can he rely on his quickness and vertical leap the way he did before the accident?
The reports from the official Warriors blog is that he has worked extremely hard and negotiated a release from the provision that allowed the Warriors to void the $66M contract as well as the suspension when team president Robert Rowell publicly usurped control of this franchise from his VP/GM Chris Mullin.
That's all water under the bridge now. Monta is flying again in the frenzied atmosphere of the Oracle. He has many new faces and shooters to keep happy on his team. Is he ready to take over the point guard duties and create for others? Can he spearhead the defensive effort and overcome the lapses from the journeymen veterans that have been added?
Its too bad he can't come back with Biedrins, his very capable pick-and-roll partner from the 2nd half of last season. It's going to be slash and dump. I'm going to be in attendance for the first Dubs game all season, and I can't be more excited. I believe in Monta 2.0. He will adjust his game and succeed beyond our expectations because he is that kind of talent.
Even though his new limited-edition MLK shoe is kind of ridiculous because it so recklessly ties their legacies together, they both share a similar dream, gloryland (playoffs). I just expect a little more marching with his teammates and a little less flying on his own to get there.
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