NBA Trade Rumors: Why Andre Iguodala for Monta Ellis Still Makes Sense

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2011

After a series-ending loss to the Miami Heat last night, the Philadelphia 76ers offseason is officially underway.  That means Andre Iguodala's availability is about to become a hot topic again.

From the start of last summer until this year's trade deadline, trade rumors involving Iguodala were rampant.  One of the most talked about possibilities was a straight swap for the Warriors' Monta Ellis.

Golden State improved its win total this season, but still failed to contend for a playoff spot.  The Warriors finished 10 games under .500 because they were one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

This is the same issue that has plagued the Warriors for years.

They brought in defensive-minded coach Keith Smart to address the problem this year.  I thought that, in combination with the signings of David Lee and Dorell Wright would get them back to the playoffs.

But here we are at the end of April, and Smart's out of a job.

Some point to the lack of chemistry between the coach and young star Stephen Curry as the reason for the firing, but finishing 27th in points allowed as a team probably didn't help.

Maybe Smart deserved more time to turn things around in Golden State, but that is now a moot point.  The organization will begin a coaching search that will likely result in the hiring of another defensive mind.

Some reports already have the Warriors expressing interest in former Utah coach Jerry Sloan.

It's not likely that he'll be pried out of retirement, but Sloan would be an enormous hire for Golden State.

The thing is it doesn't matter who they bring in to coach if they don't have the kind of players that have a desire to dominate defensively—that is if they want to become a legitimate playoff threat.

Andre Iguodala is that kind of player.  He is arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and doesn't mind filling the role of a leader on the defensive end of the floor.

At 6'6", he has the size to guard both small forwards and shooting guards.  Plus, he's quick and athletic enough to situationally defend point guards.

He makes perfect sense for Golden State at shooting guard.

Monta Ellis gets a decent amount of steals, but his lack of traditional shooting guard size is extremely problematic for him on defense.  Iguodala doesn't have that problem.

On top of that, he averaged 2.3 more rebounds, 0.7 more assists and blocked twice as many shots as Ellis this past season.

Iguodala certainly can't score at the same rate Ellis can, but does that really matter to Golden State?  

Stephen Curry is developing into an elite scorer himself, Dorell Wright led the league in three-pointers made, and David Lee had a 20-PPG season before he played with two shoot-first combo guards.

The Warriors have plenty of offense.  Adding a defensive leader like Iguodala would help change the all-offense culture Golden State has had for years.

So why would Philadelphia want to trade Iguodala for Ellis?

The 76ers could use a go-to guy.  Over the course of the year, there were plenty of stretches when the offense became stagnant, and they had no one who could quickly turn things around.

Elite teams like the Lakers, Bulls and Heat all have players that can end such stretches before they become a real problem.

Monta Ellis could be that guy for Philadelphia.  Not even the best defenders in the league can consistently lock him down.

He has great speed and quickness to go along with a very well-rounded arsenal of offensive weapons.

Even with all that, Philadelphia would be taking a bit of a risk by trading Iguodala for Ellis.  

They would have to be confident that rookie Evan Turner can develop into the kind of player they thought he could be when they used last year's second overall pick on him.

In the last month, he's shown flashes of what he may become, and could be a decent replacement for Iguodala at small forward next year.

In the first four games of Philadelphia's series with the Heat, Turner had a significantly better player efficiency rating than Iguodala.

You could look at that as an aberration, or as a sign of things to come.  If the organization views it as the latter, the Iguodala-Ellis trade makes a ton of sense.

In the long run, I think this deal could be good for both teams.  Golden State would get the kind of player it needs to establish a new defensive identity, and Philadelphia would get the No. 1 option on offense it needs.


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