Monta Ellis (right) would be an instant upgrade over the Lakers current point guards
Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have found a new head coach in Mike Brown to succeed perhaps the greatest coach in basketball history in Phil Jackson, the Lakers now need to focus their attention on their current roster.
Throughout the Lakers short-lived 2011 postseason, opposing teams consistently attacked and exposed the Lakers weaknesses, one of them being their lack of an explosive and quick point guard who can body up and defend the likes of Chris Paul and other star point guards in the NBA.
Not only do the Lakers need to add a quicker and younger point guard to their roster, but they also need to add another effective player who can score from the wing and in turn, take some of the scoring pressure off of an aging, but still effective, Kobe Bryant.
This is where the name Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors begins to sound more and more enticing. Adding Monta Ellis to the Lakers would then cover all of the Lakers immediate needs at the point guard position.
Is Ellis young? Yes, he's only twenty-five years old.
Is Ellis quick and athletic? Yes, Ellis is one of the quickest point guards in the league and would provide a major improvement athletically over current Lakers point guards Derek Fisher and Steve Blake.
Would trading Bynum for Ellis make the Lakers a better team?
Lastly, can Ellis be an effective scorer from the wing who can take pressure off of Kobe Bryant? Yes, Ellis has averaged at least nineteen points per game in each of his last four NBA seasons, including averaging 25.5 points in the 2009-10 season and 24.1 points last season.
So how do the Lakers go about acquiring such a young and talented player like Monta Ellis? Well, Andrew Bynum seems like perfect trade bait for this situation.
Like Ellis, Bynum is also young, talented and still has room to grow potential-wise. Despite battling injuries in recent years, the twenty-three year old, seven foot tall Bynum has proven that when he is healthy, he's among the best centers in the NBA.
In recent years, Bynum has not only improved his offensive scoring ability in the low post, but has also improved his rebounding and shot blocking skills as well.
Why would the Golden State Warriors be interested in trading Bynum for Ellis straight up though? For the same reason that they want to move Ellis: to give Stephen Curry a chance to shine as the star of the rebuilding Warriors franchise.
Trading Ellis to Los Angeles for Bynum would give the Warriors a player who, at times, can be dominant on both ends of the floor in the low post. Curry would be able to take more shots due to Ellis being traded, as Ellis is a high volume shooter who has averaged over twenty field goal attempts per game over the last two seasons.
This then brings about another question: Why would the Lakers want Ellis if he is a high volume shot taker when they already have a player who dominates the ball in Kobe Bryant?
While both Ellis and Bryant are players who like to dominate the ball and take more than their fair share of shots, Bryant has made it clear that the only thing he cares about is winning. If the Los Angeles Lakers winning means that Kobe Bryant has to sacrifice a few shot attempts per game in order for Ellis to score, then I think Bryant would be all for it.
There is no doubt in my mind that Monta Ellis and Kobe Bryant could find a way to peacefully co-exist in the same backcourt while each player also gets his fair share of shot attempts.
Also, think of the pairing of Ellis and Bryant this way: What opposing team (besides possibly the Miami Heat) could effectively defend both Monta Ellis and Kobe Bryant at the same time? Not to mention, the Lakers would still have the likes of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest to boot.
While on paper, this trade seems like it should be a deal that actually happens, the odds of the Lakers and Warriors making this trade are very slim, despite the fact that both have similar contracts (Ellis makes $11 mil per year, Bynum makes $13.7) and recent reports that the Warriors are shopping Monta Ellis.
The Lakers failed to pull the trigger when they had the opportunity to trade Andrew Bynum to the Denver Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony back months ago, but making this trade would be a solid consolation prize for losing out on the "Carmelo Anthony Sweepstakes."
New Lakers coach Mike Brown has said that he believes this current Lakers roster can win another NBA championships without being tweaked, but there is no doubt that by adding Monta Ellis, the Lakers chances of winning the 2012 NBA championship would increase, perhaps drastically.