Monta Ellis is an enigma.
He could drop 40 points one night than five the next, and no one would be surprised.
When Ellis declined his $11 million player option, many thought he was just throwing away money, but that is who Ellis is. He likes to keep people guessing, which is why his quest in free agency is one of the hardest to decipher.
Before we discuss his possible destinations, we should go over what kind of player he is. From his time in Golden State and Milwaukee, we can tell that Monta Ellis is a pure scorer. He can score in bunches, but his defense is clearly lacking.
In no way am I saying that Ellis is a bad player, but his defense is miserable. Players like this thrive in the NBA. When you look at J.R. Smith, Jason Terry, or Jamal Crawford, you see three players who come off the bench and score big buckets in the NBA, but they don’t disguise themselves as star players.
Once Monta Ellis accepts his fate as a sixth-man scoring option, he will be an extremely effective NBA player.
Now that we have discovered Monta Ellis’ best way to succeed in the NBA, let’s look at some of the teams interested and how he would fit in.
Atlanta would be a very interesting option for Ellis, but I don’t think he would thrive there. With its loss of Josh Smith, Atlanta looks to rebuild in a sense with Ellis.
Some sources are already reporting that the deal is done; it seems that Atlanta's starting lineup will be will be seemingly competent.
But with the addition of Ellis, Atlanta's defense would be incredibly weak. The Hawks would get run over in the East with the inability to guard at the 2 or 3.
The Hawks need to rebuild after losing Josh Smith. Ellis is not the right move. As Jason Walker of SB Nation pointed out, there is no real use of Ellis on the Hawks.
While this deal may be as good as done, Ellis will seal his fate as an underachieving scoring option in this role with the Hawks.
The Nuggets are in a very similar situation as the Hawks because of their loss of Andre Iguodala.
Denver has lost a clear scoring option in Iguodala and that place could be filled by Ellis. The Nuggets are a very versatile team with many pieces to the puzzle, and every team could use a scoring option like Ellis.
Denver could be a good fit because of the incredible depth that it displays. With Fournier, Chandler, Faried, Brewer, and Gallinari on the wings, Ellis would be in a no-pressure situation to score. With these shooters on the wings, Ellis would have a lot of space to work with and could develop into a great scoring option on the team.
However, the Nuggets are a very young team and Ellis’ bad habits could rub off of on them. Denver journalist Phil Milani is worried that Ellis would be a bad seed on this Nuggets team.
Milani is flat out wrong here. While the development of a young player is important, winning a championship is far more important.
If anyone can handle egos, it is Brian Shaw. Despite the lack of head coaching experience, Shaw has worked with great coaches like Phil Jackson and Frank Vogel. If Shaw learned anything under these two, it is how to deal with big egos.
Shaw worked with Kobe and Shaq; Monta Ellis will be nothing compared to them. If Shaw can work Ellis in with the rest of the roster, Denver could be a very dangerous team next season.
These are Ellis’ most likely options, but a team could come out of nowhere to sign the incredible scorer. If he decides to leave money on the table for a run at a championship, look for the Spurs to sign him. With Ginobili needing a break, Ellis could be a great bench scorer for the league runner-ups.
However, I won’t believe any Monta Ellis rumors until I see his name on the dotted line; that’s just the type of player he is.