Monta Ellis and the Golden State Warriors' Ugly Truth

Stephen LurieContributor IMarch 5, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 19:  Wesley Matthews #23 of the Utah Jazz defends against Monta Ellis #8 of the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game at Oracle Arena at Oracle Arena on February 19, 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 Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Things have been so bad for so long in Warrior land with the exception of a mediocre 2007 that the fans have lost all perspective. Myself included.


Many have been debating the future of Monta Ellis on this team although just a few months ago he was considered untouchable. Now everyone is asking should we trade him? Can he play with Curry? Some argue that he and Curry could become a dominant back court. I argue that only on a team as desperate as the Warriors would he be your future 2.


Instead of thinking about he and Curry together, I had the idea that maybe we should think about how a good team and coach would use Ellis? Someone like maybe the Lakers and coach Jackson who I hate but still respect.


My best guess is that if Ellis were on the Lakers they would bring him in as a sixth man and just run isolation after isolation play for him while Kobe focused on breathing.


Keeping in mind the Ellis's game is not too inclusive of teammates and is predicated on athleticism and fresh legs. Playing him 25 minutes a night would maximize his talents both offensively and defensively and keep him playing for years. It would also probably make him an NBA All-star. Think Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson .


The Warriors of course play him too much as a starter and expose him as a player (injuries, developmentally, defensively, psychologically, etc). This is typical of a bad team that makes poor personnel choices and doesn't know how to develop talent. How many Warriors have gone on to have great careers elsewhere? Ellis probably will as well.


For further thought while both Curry and Ellis maybe be averaging nearly 40 points a game and are third in offense as a back court this is skewed both by the Warriors' style and their less-than-mediocre front court productivity.


Also, it should be noted that the their collective back court defensive rating is 30th so while they may be scoring 40 a night they are probably giving up 45. This isn't entirely Ellis's fault.


We must also consider his back court mate, the system and other talent on the team but all things being equal a guy who can shoot the three, drive and play defense is probably a better fit and everyone agrees that Curry is a keeper at at 1. That being said, could Azubuike play 2?


This solution of making a Ellis your sixth man, however, isn't a solution at all. He is one of their highest paid players and you aren't paid that much to ride the pine 30 minutes a night. He also has cultivated the psychological makeup of a starter which at this point will likely prove impossible to overcome.


Perhaps someone like Phil Jackson with all those rings would have the gravitas to make him understand where he fits best but we have Nelson who wears on players like a wool underwear. So what should we do?


For me the Warriors always seem to have two or three guys around 6'5'' that can score and it seems to be one of the easier positions to draft so please, please could we at least consider trading the guy in the off-season or early next season for some bigs who bang and do all that nasty stuff, but effectively unlike ours.


Imagine Randolph and Wright free to roam and block shots and opportunistically sliding from 3 to 5.


These guys are matchup nightmares, but if you leave them at 3 too long they can't shoot and at 4 they will be taken to the shed by some guy with biceps like my thighs. So pair them with some beef and make teams match-up to their athleticism.


This goes to my final point. The Warriors injuries are a result of their playing style. Physics tells us that mass and momentum equal force. The Warriors are always smaller and so they will always loose in a war of attrition.


A long basketball season is exactly that, so until we start playing personnel that match-up physically we are going to suffer from “the injury bug,” continue to give up rebounds at an astounding rate and probably only rarely sniff the playoffs.