By Andrew Antz
Last season everyone remembers Monta Ellis for famously proclaiming that he and Stephen Curry could not play together. This statement instantly put Monta’s future with the team in jeopardy.
After the team was sold in the offseason, his future has still been in doubt because the new owner Joe Lacob hasn’t exactly publicly endorsed Monta Ellis when talking about the team’s prospects going forward. Stephen Curry and David Lee received glowing reviews while Monta was just “exciting” to watch. Monta has cooled considerably about his feelings on playing with Stephen even though neither one of them grew an inch this offseason. Yet and still, Lacob has even said that he questions the architecture of a team with two small guards starting, well, let’s clarify that.
This excellent piece on Monta Ellis last week showed that he has matured and will not continue to stand in his own way of being able to play with Curry. The best thing that can be done by the new owners now is to give Monta the benefit of the doubt and take him at his word. He should just be allowed to play with Curry for a long, long time.
Too often in the NBA teams trade their best players for cap room or because they are worried about chemistry. Monta has openly admitted that he will no longer let chemistry be an issue. And at $11 million a year, 25 points and 5 assists a night is a pretty good return on investment. So what would be the reason for still trading him now or in the future?
What could the Warriors get back for him that would be as good a value? He’s one of the top scorers in the league at his position. He has proven to be an efficient scorer in the past and likely will be again this year with Curry’s continued development and David Lee’s ability to score as well.
Defensively, everyone worries about the Ellis and Curry duo matching up with other teams. A look around the league though, shows that there aren’t very many shooting guards that take advantage of their size by going into the post or otherwise. As a matter of fact, what other backcourt in the NBA would outplay Curry and Ellis together on a nightly basis?
Speaking of which, wouldn’t it be detrimental to Curry’s career to trade the best scorer on the team? Look at Chris Paul and Deron Williams, Derrick Rose to a lesser extent. They all suffer from the one symptom the Warriors don’t have, a true shooting guard. A popular notion right now is that Curry’s progress has been impeded by Monta’s presence and propensity to shoot the ball. Well, what if Monta played with Chris Paul or Deron Williams, or even Rajon Rondo. Would you be worried about their numbers declining a little? Which problem would you rather have? Dealing with Monta and Curry or worrying about how Raja Bell is going to use his height to score at will on them?
Statistically, the Warriors have by far the best backcourt in the league. This year should prove the eyeball test as well. Plenty of teams have a great point guard but most also have a big hole at shooting guard. This will be one of the few advantages for the Warriors on a nightly basis this season.
Don’t trade it away.