Don't get me wrong; I think Monta Ellis is a great basketball player.
He is a dynamic scoring guard whose quickness and ball-handling skills allow him to get to the rim at will. Additionally, because of his tremendous body control and physicality, Ellis has the ability to finish at the rim despite contact from defenders.
Ellis' signature spin move in the lane is essentially 'unguardable.' I know unguardable is not really a word, but it's the only adage that adequately describes his spin move.
In addition to his spin move, Ellis also has an exceptional crossover and hesitation dribble in his repertoire.
However, it’s Ellis' improved jump shot that makes him so hard to defend. He shot a career high 36% from 3-point range this season. Because of Ellis' improved perimeter shot, defenders are forced to crowd him, which allows Ellis to use his superior quickness to get past his defender and into the lane.
For one, Ellis' aggressive style of play—which is similar to that of Dwyane Wade's—translates into a lot of contact and hard fouls from bigger defenders, often forcing Ellis hard to the floor. Although Wade, who is listed at 6'4 220 pounds, may be able to absorb some of the hard contact, Ellis—who is listed as 35 pounds lighter than Wade—has been hampered by a few injuries that were caused by hard falls on the court.
Through his first six seasons in the NBA, Ellis has played in 65 games or more only three times ('06-'08,'10-'11). Meanwhile, Andre Iguodala, has proven to be a very durable player for the Sixers, playing in 65 games or more in each of his first seven seasons in the NBA.
Where does Ellis Fit in the 76ers lineup?
Ellis is roughly the same size as Lou Williams, and is even smaller than Jrue Holiday. However, unlike the two other guards, Ellis doesn’t possess the necessary traits of a point guard. In the past, Ellis has struggled as a facilitator: spending too much time dribbling in isolation or making poor decisions that result in turnovers—as evidenced by his 1.79 assist to turnover ratio last year—which placed him 51st among guards.
So, although his build is similar to that of a point guard, his inability to create plays for others and his tendency to shoot first forces Ellis to play shooting guard. As a result, the 76ers starting backcourt would look like this: Holiday, 6’4 180 pounds, and Ellis, 6’3 185 pounds.
Now try to tell me that opponent’s wouldn’t be drooling over the potential mismatches they would have against Philadelphia.
In the past, Iguodala, who is a tremendous perimeter defender, guarded the opponent’s best perimeter player. But, if Iguodala is traded for Ellis, then Evan Turner will likely draw the assignment of defending the opponent’s best perimeter player, which—depending on the size of the player he is guarding—may present a favorable matchup for the 76ers’ opponents.
Thus, by trading Iguodala for Ellis, the 76ers would not only lose size—Iguodala is listed at 6’6, three inches taller than Ellis (who is without a doubt shorter than his listed height of 6’3)—but also they would lose an elite defender in exchange for a subpar defender.
Would the Acquisition of Ellis Hinder the Growth of Philadelphia’s Rising Stars?
A common argument was made when the 76ers drafted Turner with the No. 2 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft: How can Turner grow if the franchise's best player in Iguodala plays the exact same position as him?
Well, if Iguodala is traded for Ellis, that problem still isn't solved. With Holiday starting at point guard and Ellis at shooting guard, Turner will be forced to play as a small forward, a position that doesn't suit him well because he is too undersized to guard physical small forwards.
Plus, the addition of Ellis, who is a high volume shooter, will decrease the number of touches and shot opportunities for Turner, and as a result, may hinder Turner's development.
In addition, because Ellis is at his best when the ball is in his hands, what happens to Holiday? Will his role as a distributor be diminished?
Holiday, who made tremendous strides as a second-year player, averaged 14.5 points per game, 6.5 assists per game and 4.1 rebounds per game, and is one of the 76ers' brightest assets going forward.
But, will Ellis' need to play with the ball in his hands stunt Holiday's growth as a playmaking point guard?
How can two guards co-exist when they both need the ball in their hands in order for them to be effective?
The truth is, they can’t.
Unlike Stephon Curry—Ellis’ current teammate—Holiday isn’t experienced at running off screens or making plays without the ball in his hands. Neither is Ellis, who is at his best when he drives in the lane, looking to create contact and draw a foul, or finish at the rim.
If you want to know what the backcourt duo of Holiday and Ellis would look like, just watch replays of the Miami Heat’s games from the beginning of this season, when LeBron James and Wade struggled to co-exist.
Is Ellis a Franchise Player?
Look, I know Philadelphia needs a go-to scorer, but where does he fit in the 76ers' scheme of things? How will the 76ers benefit from his presence?
While it's clear that Iguodala isn't the franchise player that the 76ers hoped he would be when they drafted him with the No. 9 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, but who is to say that Ellis can be?
Yeah, Ellis is a dynamic scorer, but if he is so great why does Golden State seem so eager to trade him?
Here's a look at the top eight scorers from the 2010-11 NBA season: Kevin Durant (27.7), LeBron James (26.7), Carmelo Anthony (25.6), Wade (25.5), Kobe Bryant (25.3), Amare Stoudemire (25.3), Derrick Rose (25) and Ellis (24.1).
So, if Ellis truly is a franchise player, why haven't the Warriors made the playoffs since the 2006-07 season, when Ellis was the fourth-leading scorer on the team?
To gain a better understanding of why Ellis' teams struggle, let's further examine his statistics from the 2010-11 NBA season.
As previously mentioned, Ellis finished eighth in scoring with 24.1 points per game, which, by all means is an impressive statistic. However, if one looks deeper, he or she will find that Ellis also averaged 20.1 field goal attempts per game—the most in the NBA this season, which shows Ellis' glaring inefficiency as a shooter.
So, even though Ellis will score his points, it may come at the expense of his team's growth, chemistry and success.
No. Monta Ellis is not a franchise player.
Iguodala is a Better Fit for 76ers
Although Iguodala isn't as talented of a scorer as Ellis, he is a complete player who can be effective with or without the ball.
Iguodala plays well within the 76ers offense, and understands his role as a creator/playmaker. Unlike Ellis, Iguodala doesn't need to take a lot of shots in order to have a positive impact on the game, giving players like Holiday, Turner, Jodie Meeks and Thaddeus Young a chance to make a play.
Iguodala's ability to crash the boards offensively as well as his vision to find open teammates makes him a valuable component of the 76ers' offense.
Thus, the Philadelphia 76ers shouldn’t even consider the possibility of trading Andre Iguodala for Monta Ellis.