Warrior Games: Future For Monta Ellis Could Be Up In The Air

By: 06.01.11  •  9 Comments
Monta Ellis

Monta Ellis, Dime #44

Trading your best player never, at least on the surface, appears to be a solution. Trading your leading scorer, an offensive jackrabbit that can get you buckets all over the court, is going to make you better? Seems backwards. But sometimes, change is good, for both parties. Ever since they brought in Stephen Curry, there were questions around the Warriors’ organization: can you win with both Curry and Monta Ellis in the same backcourt?

Looking forward, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News predicted that not only will there be a market for Ellis, but that it might be in the Warriors’ best interest to trade their leading scorer.

I’ve never doubted that Curry is the more valuable player, it’s just that with Ellis playing at such a high level (but not as valuable in a trade), I suggested a few months ago that maybe the Warriors should maximize Curry’s value in a trade presuming Ellis would not net them much.

But that was before Jerry West‘s arrival, before they started looking for a defensive-minded coach, and generally before Joe Lacob‘s larger vision seemed to clarify for us.

Curry fits it better because he’s more versatile and because he’s younger–which amplifies why Keith Smart had to go; his tilt towards Ellis, and away from Curry, was not the path to the future.

And I don’t think Ellis quite fits that larger Lacob/West picture. Plus, the arrival of West (and Bob Myers) makes it more likely that the Warriors will be able to find a decent deal for Ellis.

Now that West is here, you can be sure of one thing: Golden State won’t be scared to make moves, and won’t be afraid to mix things up. Can they win with a spiced-up mini backcourt of Ellis and Curry? Probably not.

West hinted at changes recently, saying scoring doesn’t always produce wins. It doesn’t always win. Actually, it hardly ever wins. After earning big-minutes in his second season in G.S., Ellis has averaged 21.2 points, but the team has burrowed into the lottery for four straight years.

Ellis did start for one playoff team: the surprising 2007 Warriors who beat Dallas in the first round. But it “worked” (they still weren’t a contending team and Ellis was more of a role player) because he was surrounded by Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Matt Barnes, Jason Richardson and Mickael Pietrus. All of them had size, versatility and athleticism.

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