Golden State Warriors: A Strategy for Getting Somewhere, Someday

Stephen LurieContributor INovember 17, 2009

PHOENIX - OCTOBER 30:  Monta Ellis #8 of the Golden State Warriors during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on October 30, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Warriors 123-101.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Luck Is Not a Strategy

Losing is getting old. Worse than losing, however, is the impression that the organization doesn't seem to know what it is doing.

The coach, Don Nelson, who won rings and was a model of consistency as a player, is unable to communicate what he wants to his team—effort and consistency on defense and rebounds, spacing and ball movement on offense. Is that so hard to understand or explain?

An unclear hierarchy and dubious alliances have seemingly paralyzed management. Cowan and Rowell with their agenda and Nelly and Riley with their own. Meanwhile, I get the impression that either nobody is communicating with players or they are giving them mixed messages.

I imagine now that the bulk of the players are just confused and tired of the drama. One of their leaders, Jackson, nearly imploded (his praying with a gun tattoo is more understandable now) and burned down the building on his way out. The other, Monta, just ripped them in the press and looks like he is checking out.

All is not lost, but the Warriors, and by this I mean those management clowns, need to start acting maturely and with some foresight.

The Monta Debate

I suggest that Monta, while not grossly overrated, is not going to get the Warriors anywhere and he is arguably heading down the same route as I-think-I-am-as-good-as-Kobe-Bryant Jackson.

To compete for a championship with a small two, he needs to be elite with good to great talent around him—think Allen Iverson with Dikembe Mutombo. Monta is at best no Answer to the Warrior's many problems and as a player, teammate, and human being I think most will agree he is done growing here.

Now ask yourself if Monta really helps with the following:

Leadership: No! He put it best when he said, “He won't do it!” Tip to players: Don't call out your coach in front of the press, after being late, if you want a fat contract extension.

Defense: No! While he thinks he is a good defender his guy always seems to have a career or near-career night and he averages 1.5 steals less than the Answer did for his career. I think this goes to effort and lack of basketball intelligence.

Ball movement: No! While every once in a while he breaks out and gets some assists, for the most part once he gets the ball he is either going to the hole or pulling up. Pretty one-dimensional and you won't get very far in the playoffs on that.

Frankly, you'll be lucky to ever beat the Lakers because they have that guy Kobe who does that really well and has long three-point range too (again something Monta can't do).

Team building: No! He just threw his teammates under the bus and when he was asked if he needs to communicate with his team better, said no. While communicating with them through the press. Good job. Let’s see how this works out for you.

Intelligence and integrity: No! Sorry, Monta, but it is your turn to see the underside of the bus. How he handled the moped episode and the fact that he rides mopeds leads me to think that his feet are faster than his brain.

Oh yeah, and so we don't forget, if Monta had played a little better (likewise for Jackson) the Warriors might have been competitive against Utah in that series. Instead, he pooped on himself.

The worst part of it is he seems to lack the ability to remember that his “teammates” didn't punk him to the press the first chance they got.

The Warriors, who have a long history of trading off their talent, shouldn't let that cause them to build around the wrong guy. Simply put, the Warriors cannot afford to build around him at this point and trying to do so will only waste time (bye-bye next two seasons).

That being said, Monta has a lot of value and it will grow as this year's playoffs near and a GM out there needs someone to come in to fill-it-up. I think he is a great potential Vinnie Johnson-type player.

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As a coach I would love to look down my bench and see Monta. Playoff defenses tighten up and he could be a big-time spark plug for a team.

Getting There

Here is the road map and, unlike so much I've read, is actually possible:

1. Explain to him that if he says the right things and plays well this year he will be traded to a good team.

2. Explain that if he is not nice, he will be traded to NY so he can learn to lose gracefully and eat Vaseline under a magnifying glass like Starbury.

3. Showcase his game this year and start subbing the young guns more. Tell them they are going to be playing a lot soon so they better get ready.

4. Trade Monta before the deadline for some talent, cap relief, and/or picks to the team that gives you the most in return and stab him in the back.

Since Monta has been drafted, he has shown very little other than the ability to light it up with the ball in his hands. This is probably the easiest player to find in today's NBA.

It is time to trade this undersized-baller for a future that will hopefully involve the playoffs.

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