It’s the rumour that just won’t die.
Ever since it leaked that the Grizzlies offered the Warriors a deal of OJ Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet for Monta Ellis at the trade deadline, only to be turned down by Larry Riley, the Internet has been buzzing that this deal could still be on the menu.
Admittedly, Larry Riley is not a first-ballot entry to the NBA GM Hall Of Fame. And I’m convinced that Chris Wallace must have had an affair with a farm animal that someone inside the Lakers found out about.
You explain to me why else the Pau Gasol trade happened. (Don’t say salary dump or Marc Gasol. No one had any idea how good MG would become, and you can’t tell me Wallace couldn’t have gotten better expiring contracts for Pau).
So it wouldn’t be that surprising for both of them to make a lousy trade together.
Which is exactly what this deal would be.
The fact that so many Warriors fans seem to be hoping it’s still on just shows how much Monta wore out his welcome in the Bay Area this year.
Before you get too excited at the idea of getting Monta Ellis out of town, ask yourselves this.
What will OJ Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet give us that we already need, or that Monta doesn’t give us?
Let’s look at Thabeet first. On most objective scales, his first year was a total bust for a No. 2 overall pick. However, he does have the potential to be a decent defensive big man.
However, he’s not going to be Ben Wallace or Dikembe Mutombo 2.0. While he’s a capable shot blocker, he’s not tough enough to block the lane or put up with guys constantly driving into him.
Nor does he seem willing to tread the fine line between tough and dirty Big Ben and Dikembe walked on so often.
As for offense…well, let’s just say you’d have to be happy playing four on five. He couldn’t make an impact offensively in the D-League. That says all you need to know there.
However, Thabeet would basically be a throw-in on Memphis’ side for salary purposes. The meat of the trade would be OJ Mayo for Monta Ellis.
The Grizzlies’ biggest need on offense right now is a good point guard. As the Warriors learnt this year, if Monta Ellis is your point guard you’re stuck playing one-on-five and probably going to fail.
Dude is not only seriously lacking in point guard instincts, but he’s a major ballhog.
Even his greatest strength as a player (his raw speed and explosiveness), which made him so dangerous roving off the ball, is lost when he became the primary ballhandler as he began to resort to 15- to 18-footers every other possession.
While his shot from that area isn’t bad, no one can make those consistently when you’re double-teamed every time. Yet, he kept jacking them up.
Monta needs to be on a team that has a strong point guard and a couple of good defensive wing players who can allow him to play to his strengths, while keeping him under control and covering up his weaknesses on both ends of the court.
While he can play tough, scrappy defense when he puts his mind to it, his physical limitations (he’s listed at 6’3”, but I’m pretty sure he isn’t much over 6’0”, and he doesn’t have great length) hurt him in that department.
Even the reason the Grizzlies seem most keen on him doesn’t make much sense. Apparently, one of the reasons they want Monta is because he’s the “hometown boy” who can sell tickets and jerseys while providing them with some excitement that’s otherwise lacking from the Grizzlies.
However, Monta’s hometown is Jackson, Miss., which is in the centre of the state. I’m not an expert on that geography of that area, but how does that make him the hometown boy?
In fact, I’d’ve thought New Orleans and the Hornets would actually be closer than Memphis. Of course, if someone who knows the area better than I do wants to tell me I’m wrong, I will withdraw this point, but it’s still a pretty stupid reason to me.
When you consider what the Grizzlies are giving up, however, maybe it’s not so much of a loss.
OJ Mayo is a good player. However, he’s not Monta Ellis.
I would argue that Monta is a borderline All-Star and a top-25 player in the league right now, warts and all. Mayo doesn’t have that kind of potential. He could become a good two guard, but that’s it.
He’s a great athlete, but doesn’t have anywhere near Monta’s explosiveness, and his jumper isn’t consistent.
While he has a better three-point shot than Monta, if we want threes, just re-sign Anthony Morrow. That gives us two of the best in the business with him and Stephen Curry.
Mayo is a better defender than Monta, however, he’s not an elite wing defender by any means.
He has good length, but he’s a bit short for the two guard position. I would not be happy at the idea of him having to guard Wade, Kobe or Brandon Roy for a full game.
Unlike, say, Andre Iguodala, he doesn’t have the kind of defensive ability that could stand out on this defenseless Warriors team and allow him to effectively mark the opposition’s best wing player night in, night out.
Plus, that’s ignoring the fact that he’s even more of an offensive black hole than Monta is. At least Monta managed to average five assists per game last season; while he also would often put up 10 bad shots, at least he occasionally passed.
I’ve watched a fair few Grizzlies games, and I can say based on them that OJ Mayo hardly ever passes the ball, even when he gets double-teamed.
I am not totally opposed to trading Monta. However, I am opposed to trading him for 30 cents on the dollar just to get him out of town. That’s what this trade would be for the Warriors.
For the Grizzlies, it would be a half-hearted attempt at drumming up excitement for the team which, would fade away once everyone realized how useless they were, ending in Zach Randolph and Monta Ellis both getting arrested for getting stoned in a bathroom at Graceland.
Of course, when you consider who the GMs involved are, that makes it a certainty to happen.
If you will all excuse me, I’m going to bang my head on the wall in advance.