Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry Are the Golden State Warriors' Future

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IFebruary 27, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 11:  Monta Ellis #8 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after a play during their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Oracle Arena on January 11, 2010 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors have struggled this season too find any kind of consistent play. So far, the two most consistent players the Warriors have had for the season have been Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry.

Corey Maggette does deserve an honorable mention in terms of consistency as well but has been injured and will be out for a while.

Yet, there are Warrior fans who would like too see Monta Ellis traded. Eric Schembri in his article "Golden State of Depression Ellis, Biedrins, Maggette Need New Homes" would have you believe that Ellis is not a team leader, not an all-star, and is a ball hog.

A direct quote from the article is this one: "The Warriors face right now is Monta Ellis, not an All-Star and not a team leader, a ball hog from Mississippi.  He does not know what the term ‘team play’ means and he wouldn’t know what a “high percentage” shot is if it hit him in the head."

It would be easy to point out during the first four years in the league, Ellis wasn't ever asked to be the leader of the team because there were veteran players on the team such as Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, and Stephen Jackson and because of this Ellis really didn't have much opportunity to be the leader of the team.

I do understand that Ellis may have gotten bad rap to start the season with the infamous quote back before training camp started "Us together? No," Ellis said. "Can't. We just can't. ... Just can't. They say you can...but you can't. I just want to win and you're not going to win that way."

The Warriors now have played 57 games and have a record of 16-41. So, was Ellis right that the Warriors were not going to win with a small backcourt? If you look specifically at the record, then yes, Ellis was right, but if you look at the production of the Curry and Ellis backcourt, then the answer would be different.

Then, of course, there's the interview with Ellis from Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times where Ellis said "I'm not (going to) put no more on my back. Somebody else gonna have to step up. I'm not gonna do more, somebody else gonna have to step up and take on the role that Jack had and be that player. But I'm not putting no more extra on my back."

After looking at the quotes and what Monta has said yes it looks like he hasn't developed much as a leader. But, then again Ellis is only 24 years of age.

According Feltbot's Warriors Blog in January after the Warriors defeated the Sacramento Kings he offers a glimpse of the leadership that Ellis has provided. One quote from the blog: "Almost immediately upon the departure of Stephen Jackson, Monta threw off his poor attitude and assumed the mantle of leadership of this Warriors’ team.

He also further expands on how Ellis has become a better leader "He has begun to see the need to involve his teammates. To trust them. He has allowed Stephen Curry to emerge as a point guard, and expand his role in the offense.  And along with Curry, he has begun to run the Warriors’ plays himself, and see and find his open teammates.  

In fact, he has started to become what some think he has fought long and hard with Don Nelson against becoming. A point guard. A playmaker. A leader."

The best example of Ellis' doing more is on the defensive end. After the Warriors were able to comeback from 17 down against the Atlanta Hawks, it was Ellis' defense against all-star Joe Johnson that allowed the Warriors to hold on for the four point win.

Now as for the other quotes about Ellis being a ball hog. Here's some interesting stats in regards to Ellis. In 32 of the 52 games played for Ellis he has had five or more assists in a game and three of those 32 games Ellis had 10 plus assists. In the 20 other games that Ellis appeared in he had anywhere from 1-4 assists.

Compare that too Stephen Curry in 29 of the 57 games that Curry has played in he has had five plus assists and in 28 games 0-4 assists. Curry has had three of the 29 games with 10 plus assists as well.

Obviously Ellis could hardly be considered a ballhog. Now as for the quote about the "high percentage" shot that is way off base. Ellis has possessed one of the best mid range games in the league and this year he is on pace to break his best percentage from beyond the arc.

Now Ellis's field goal percentage so far this season hasn't been as high as it normally is as he's got a career average so far of 47.8 percent and right now he's shooting at 45.3 percent.

The main reason for Ellis' shooting percentage being down is because he's had too take about eight more shots than his average of 14.6 because he's had to pick up some of the scoring slack with the various injuries that the Warriors players have suffered throughout the season and that has also meant that Ellis has played a lot of minutes as well.

With the remaining 26 games for the Warriors look for Ellis' shooting percentage to go up. Even though recently he has struggled with his shot after coming back from a partially strained knee.

Curry is the reason why the Warriors may find some success in the next 25 games of the season. Curry started out the season somewhat slowly getting into early foul trouble and turning the ball over, but has come on strong since that time.

Since January, Curry has had a triple double and games with 15 and 13 assists. In the past 10 games, Curry has been a terrific scorer averaging 21.7 points per game as well as eight assists, and 5.7 rebounds.

As the backcourt of Ellis and Curry gets more comfortable playing together the Warriors have a bright future ahead of them with the two. There's no need for Warriors fans to panic or to believe that Ellis and Curry cannot work together.

Looking at the productivity of the backcourt Ellis and Curry combined and they go for 41.5 points, 10.6 assists, 8.5 rebounds, and 4.1 steals.

To give you an examples of other backcourts in the league such as Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher they combine for 35.3 points, 7.1 assists, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.9 steals.

Brandon Roy and Andrew Miller combine for 36.1 points, 10.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.9 steals.

Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby combine for 30.4 points, 8.9 assists, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo combine for 30.7 points, 12.5 assists, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.3 steals.

There's no question that the Warriors have a productive backcourt and will get better in the upcoming seasons. Trading Ellis makes no sense at all for the Warriors.

I've seen specifically on the postings at Golden State of Mind fans wanting the Warriors to lose so they have a better chance at winning the NBA Draft lottery to take John Wall.

What the issue with Wall is that the Warriors already have their backcourt set with Curry just about to turn 22 and Ellis only 24. In the draft the Warriors need to improve on their needs and the backcourt is not one of those needs.

Warriors fan should sit back and watch the rest of the season with an open mind and watch how Ellis and Curry progress with each other by the end of the season. Hopefully that will translate into some wins and build up the confidence of the team ending the season and for next year.



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