Earth to Don Nelson: Stephen Curry Belongs on the Bench

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IOctober 1, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 30:  Monta Ellis #8 of the Golden State Warriors drives against the Memphis Grizzlies during an NBA game on March 30, 2009 at Oracle Arena 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)

I find it funny that the media has portrayed Monta Ellis' comments on playing in the same backcourt with Stephen Curry as Ellis not being a team player. Those comments, for some reason, make Ellis have a bad attitude that could become a concern for the Warriors.

Yet, when you look at the full quote by Ellis, his actual explanation and reasons for not having Curry in the same backcourt for long periods makes perfect sense. 

Ellis's direct quote is this:

"You can't put two small guys out there and try to play the one (point guard) and the two (shooting guard) when you've got big two guards (to match up with) in the league, you just can't do it. Yes we're going to move up and down fast. But eventually the game is going to slow down."

The full quote tells a different story than how the media has portrayed Ellis' comments. It's not Ellis saying he can't play with Curry in the same backcourt. He's saying teams are going to take advantage of the mismatch.

Now, Ellis and Curry are the same height at 6'3", and fans will remember that Baron Davis was also 6'3", but if you're going to argue that Ellis played in the same backcourt as Davis you're not going to win the argument.

Ellis was more of the defender that got the point guards because Ellis isn't as thick as Davis was. So that meant Davis was the man guarding the taller players. But Davis could do that because he had the physical strength to defend taller players. Ellis and Curry don't.

Now it's understood that Don Nelson likes to run his offense at a fast pace, but not all teams run like the Warriors do. The good teams do not fall into the Warriors' pace. They take their time and don't rush.

And due to the lack of height, those teams will just feed their shooting guard in the post over the much shorter defenders of either Curry or Ellis.

It's just not a good combination to have for the Warriors on the floor for a sustained period. If the Warriors need some scoring in a hurry, sure you could see both Curry and Ellis on the floor, but for long stretches it's not even close to being a good idea.

More importantly, the reason why Ellis is starting is because he's a proven NBA player. He knows his game. He isn't going to force hit shots as much as Curry will, and Ellis, when he's healthy, is one of the best finishers at the rim in the NBA.

But, with that issue being over, the question is, what will the Warriors starting lineup look like on opening day?

For me, the best lineup option I can see is this:

PG-Monta Ellis

SG-Stephen Jackson

SF-Corey Maggette

PF-Anthony Randolph

C-Andris Biedrins

The only other lineup option I see is this:

PG-Monta Ellis

SG-Stephen Jackson

SF-Kelenna Azbuike

PF-Anthony Randolph

C-Andris Biedrins

The bench players for the Warriors who would see a good amount of minutes are: Maggette, Curry, C.J. Watson, and Anthony Morrow.


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