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Thursday, October 6th, 2011 at 12:36 pm  |  108 responses

Top 50: Monta Ellis, no. 23

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Irv Soonachan / @SidelineOB

It was a warm, rainy spring day, and Monta Ellis was standing in a West Oakland warehouse that had been converted into a food pantry, addressing a crowd of people waiting to receive cardboard boxes of basic supplies. As usual, he looked completely uncomfortable speaking in front of a group.

He stammered through a few platitudes, shifted around restlessly, then nearly sucked the air out of the room with something about “taking time from my busy schedule.” He just about brought it back a minute or two later when he mentioned, with raw sincerity, that he knows what it’s like to be hungry.

Ellis grew up poor in Jackson, MS, best known as the hometown of Richard Wright. Unlike many top basketball prospects he didn’t end up at a fancy prep school, attending Jackson’s Lanier High—one of many 100-percent black public high schools in a state that still fights federal desegregation laws dating back to Wright’s era. And like many of Wright’s protagonists, Ellis also knows what it’s like to feel uprooted and out of place.

He joined the San Francisco Bay Area’s NBA franchise straight out of Lanier in 2005, just 19 years old. His thick Southern accent was sometimes difficult to understand, and his quiet, often hesitant public demeanor was inimical to the PR rigors of the NBA.

“He’s a very, very shy guy by nature, and it takes him a while to warm up to people,” said former Warriors assistant Calbert Cheaney in an interview last season. Cheaney also played for the team during Ellis’ rookie year. “He’s a country boy from Mississippi. I’m sure he was a little bit star struck at first, coming all the way to California to play in the NBA.”

But one man’s shy is another man’s aloof. Depending who you ask, Ellis is either stubborn, overconfident, and by NBA standards has a questionable work ethic or is confident and very coachable. (The latter according to former Warriors’ head coach Keith Smart.) He is either too self-consumed to talk to people or simply, as Cheaney insists, quiet by nature. He could even be all of the above.

As a 24+ ppg scorer and the team’s workhorse—he has led the NBA in minutes per game each of the past two seasons—there is bound to be praise, but within the Warriors organization, Ellis is both respected and polarizing.

Once, in the locker room after a game late last season, Ellis stood surrounded by cameras and microphones delivering one of his typically funereal post-game pressers. If you stood far enough behind the throng to take in the whole scene, there was another voice, speaking in almost the exact same cadence and tone as Ellis—except the voice was speaking gibberish. It was one of Ellis’ teammates, just out of earshot of the media, mocking his accent.

As painful as he can sometimes be to observe off the court, that is how astonishing he is to watch on it—especially when he’s driving to the basket. Good lord, can he finish at the basket. Monta Ellis can put a basketball through a hoop with all the beauty and cunning and flair of Modigliani finishing a brush stroke.

Ellis is laser quick but unlike most other slashing scorers, he is not a great leaper. His most memorable drives end below the rim. With unadorned passion he feints, fakes, and changes speeds, finding his way into the paint, and when the trees converge on him the 6-3, 185-pound guard somehow twists his slim body around, or freezes the defense just long enough, or simply flings a shot over them in a way nobody could ever anticipate and suddenly the ball is spinning softly, far above the basket, 18,000 people communally holding their breath for that brief, suspenseful pause before it drops through the net, and in the improbability of the moment they all go insane.

And the fans always know how incredible a shot it was because so many of them have done the exact same thing once or twice over the years. On the playground or at the Y, driving to the hoop out of control and hip checked by a defender, thrown completely off balance, tossing up a wild shot and watching it go in just after hitting the ground. People remember that thrill the rest of their lives. Except Ellis scores on shots like that every single time he steps on a court. “That’s just a gift he has,” says Cheaney. “Not a lot of guys have it.”

After his brief speech at the food pantry, Ellis settled in behind a table next to his wife, Juanika, a former police officer in Ellis’ adopted hometown of Memphis, TN, and started handing out boxes. The crowd began to press through the open front of the warehouse and the combined smell of body odor, unwashed hair and clothes, and dog piss, courtesy of two bulldogs who guarded the place—and who relieved themselves on pieces of cardboard left on the floor for that purpose—congealed on the wet, humid day into a rank fog that engulfed everyone.

The young wife of the team’s owner rolled up the sleeves of her white designer blouse to help move boxes; some of the team’s staff slid off to the side; and one germaphobe Warriors official frantically darted around looking for hand sanitizer. Ellis, however, was completely relaxed. This appearance was his idea—after having done a similar event with teammate Stephen Curry a few months earlier, he’d wanted to do one alone.

It’s only natural that Ellis would want to establish an identity away from Curry, to whom he is constantly compared. They’re both rising stars, listed at the exact same height and weight, are nearly the same age and play the same position: shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body. But after that, they’re a study in contrasts.

Curry, who grew up in a nuclear household as the well-to-do son of an NBA player, is approachable and unselfconscious before a game. He is also meticulous in preparation, with an on-court warm-up that includes rehearsing his moves and cuts with game-level focus.

Ellis, on the other hand, predictably tenses when any reporter approaches, before gravely intoning that he doesn’t do pre-game interviews. His warm-up has been known to feature catapulting circus shots over his head. It makes old-school players and coaches cringe, even though an astounding proportion of them go in.

But Ellis’ genius for the game can’t be learned, even if you’re as diligent and talented as Curry. And while Curry’s outgoing personality leads people to root for him, Ellis, who plays with his heart so raggedly exposed, his talent and limitations always on display, has something more magical: the ability to make people identify with him.

At the food pantry it didn’t take long for Ellis to get tired of sitting behind the table, with boxes and sterile greetings pushed across a 24-inch gulf. But what happened next was still a surprise.

Without warning he got up from his chair, walked around the table and waded into the haggard crowd. Security personnel and team officials could only watch in awe and apprehension while he hugged people, shook hands, posed for pictures and whispered encouragement too low and close for anyone else to hear—far closer than any other outsider was willing to go.

After most of the boxes had been given out Ellis did a brief, obligatory TV interview and then slipped out the door, blowing off the rest of the media. It would have been more surprising if he hadn’t. Like so many nights throughout the season he’d shown us some important part of himself, but didn’t feel like talking about it afterward. Like most nights during the season, it was incredibly compelling to witness.

SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2011
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Luol Deng Bulls SF 8
49 Andrew Bogut Bucks C 7
48 Ray Allen Celtics SG 9
47 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 6
46 David West Hornets PF 15
45 Kevin Martin Rockets SG 8
44 Andrew Bynum Lakers C 5
43 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 11
42 Lamar Odom Lakers PF 14
41 Gerald Wallace Blazers SF 7
40 Brook Lopez Nets C 4
39 Joakim Noah Bulls C 3
38 Carlos Boozer Bulls PF 13
37 Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 12
36 Eric Gordon Clippers SG 7
35 Tony Parker Spurs PG 10
34 Andre Iguodala 76ers SG 6
33 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 11
32 Al Horford Hawks C 2
31 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 9
30 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 10
29 Josh Smith Hawks PF 9
28 Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 5
27 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 8
26 Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 6
25 John Wall Wizards PG 7
24 Danny Granger Pacers SF 5
23 Monta Ellis Warriors SG 4

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’11-12 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Maurice Bobb, Shannon Booher, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Jon Jaques, Eldon Khorshidi, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Quinn Peterson, Dave Schnur, Abe Schwadron, Dan Shapiro, Irv Soonachan, Todd Spehr, Tzvi Twersky, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Ben York.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    The moped must’ve kept him off the Top 50 in ’09. Monta has been top-25 material since ’07-08, IMO.

  • RobbieJay

    this is a pretty solid standing. good write too Irv. im still mad about Granger though lol

  • http://www.2ksports.com Showtime

    Well written..Between Rose, ellis, & blake are the most exciting to watch in the nba. Easily top 25 or top 20

  • ctkennedy

    the ONLY knock on him for me is the Ws….other than that he do all u can ask for …Led all SGs in dimes n steals …top 7 in scorin in the league …FG n 3pt percentages last yr were HIGHER than Kobe(he gon be top7 on the list at worst)…tops in minutes in the league …can he lock up the whole game NO …but i can trust him to get stops when they r needed

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Co-sign Ryne. Dude can score with the best of them. In regards to SG’s, I can think of Wade and Kobe ahead of Monta…Who’s #3? Did they rank Pierce as an SG?

  • http://www.2ksports.com Showtime

    Na’ll @ niq the got the 20 million man at that spot Joe joe. pierce will probably show up @ 20 as th 4th best Sf.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I’ll throw this on a more recent post so we don’t have to search Slams archives to find the right link. Alright well basically fellas, Kobe and MJ are comparable because of a few things, let me bring you insight. They both have elite handles meaning ball handling. Enough so that they can bring the ball up or be given the ball at anytime and they can create off the dribble with those ball handling skills. Neither is a better ball handler than the other. They are both two of the more elite ball handling shooting guards to play the game. Despite both being 6’6″ perimeter players they both have elite post skills per their positions. The both have incredible footwork. Both had an arsenal of offensive moves. Many Kobe learned from Mike. Many from other players and his own creations also. How many shooting guards post up? I can think of more PG’s than SG’s that post up so they are unique in that sense. MJ could shoot from anywhere on the floor with anyone in his face and it wouldn’t matter. Kobe actually takes that part of his game to another level. KB can shoot with a hand covering his eyes and still make the shot. I’ve seen it countless times for it to be a fluke. He is also more capable with his left hand then Jordan was. Kobe does have the better outside shot. MJ got his 3 point shooting up to 38% one year, but KB has maintained overall a more solid % from deep over his career. He can also be found amoung the all time charts for 3ptrs made. He should be top 10 or top 5 in that category when he hangs it up. MJ isn’t sniffing the top 40. Theres also something to be said about the differences from this generation to last. The League shooting was 3 to 4 % higher during MJ’s years. And now is in total that much lower by the average of every team. KB shoots about the same % lower than MJ did as the whole League did. That says something. Everyone wasn’t just a better shooter back then. There was a higher speed to the game therefore more easy layups and transition buckets. Although the defense was allowed to do more (hand check) they weren’t as tight as they are today for the most part. Some teams more than others played good D, but in general the open gaps you can see in the older games are filled allot quicker these days.
    Jordan shot .482 when he averaged 37 a game. The league shot .480
    Kobe shot .463 when the L shot .458 What do you guys make of those numbers? Clutch Factor: Aww yes, the game on the line who you want taking it. I raise my hand for Mj. You guys probably do also. BUT, if I get Kobe as my second choice. I’m going in with equal confidence. His team mates have said it. His coaches have said it. His fellow opponets have said it and know it. Game winners prove it. Kobe is clutch! Theres allot more to get into. But this is just a little something that tells you why we can compare Kobe to Jordan. Even if he’s not quite on his level. He’s comparable. Like an Elephant to a Double Decker Bus. Kobe only scored 35 per game in his best statistical year where as Jordan scored 37. Well that’s two points a game difference. Pretty comparable in my eyes judging the fact that it came from someone that plays the same postion the same way(ish). They also are two of the best 2 way players. Meaning they kill you on offense and on defense. Kobe has fallen of the last year or two. But everyone would agree he was a great defender in his prime. He only ever gathered more than 2 steals a couple times. Where as Jordan was always in the 2 and usually closer to 3, and a couple years of over 3 steals per contest. Jordan was more athletic and strong. Kobe is strong and athletic, but not where MJ was.
    What it comes down to is Jordan was 2 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist and 1 steal better than Kobe in their best years. I’ll take Jordan over Kobe. But you boys need to re-watch some classic Kobe if you think he isn’t comparable to Jordan. I have the benefit of having League Pass and watching every single game of his for quite some years now, but dig up some old archive footage if you need visual proof of Kobe greatness and similarities to Jordan. Oh yeah Kobe will have the same number or more of rings as MJ when it’s said and done. So just throw that on top

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    3rd best SG in the NBA, IMO.

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    I’d still rather Gordon, or Reke over Monta. This feels too high for me for a guy without a real position. Don’t see why people are expecting a jump from 40-23 this season.

  • AirForceONE

    I just dont see how Eric Gordon and Monta Ellis are ranked so far apart. I am 100% positive that Eric GOrdon would average more points per game than Monte Ellis is Gordon took 20+ shots a game. Eric Gordon was just as good as Monte Ellis last season even after playing the final month of the season with a torn ligament in his ring finger and a broken bone in his shooting wrist.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    smh

  • http://shinefluidpt2@aol.com yada

    cause eric gordon has had 1 good half a season thus far

  • don

    monta is the 1st player on my “fave-players list” to appear on the top 50…

  • Thor

    niQ@ Joe Johnson is #3, which to me, even as a hawks fan, is straight out wrong. JJ is mighty good, belive me, I watch all their games, but better than ellis? no way. Beside joes great mix of body and talent, he still isn’t nearly as reliable on offense as ellis. I would trade Joe for monta any day…

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @Thor: Atlanta probably still wouldn’t be better off with Monta as opposed to Joe Johnson, but hey, at least the numbers work out trade-wise.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Joe is a better defender, and shooter (although not last season % wise). Plus Monta Ellis’ scoring prowess is boosted by the fact that he plays on the Warriors, and more minutes a night then anyone else in the L. F.E. The Warriors play with the 5th fastes pace in the league, the Hawks were 27th, but Ellis only scores 3 more points per 36 minutes then Joe Johson.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Ellis is more exciting than JJ, but he’s not better. JJ gets a bad rap because of the contract he got, but it’s not like that’s his fault. He’s a still a very solid all around player. Is a solid defender and a deadly scorer. I’d give Ellis a slight edge offensively, but on D it’s all JJ.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Right, forgot about Joe Johnson. But yea, I’d consider Monta as 3rd best SG in the game today.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    ^
    Cosign that.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    ^
    Wayno

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Ellis is the better player. JJ is the better 2 guard. He’s 6’7″ with one of the best open shots in the L. Ellis can create for himself better but at 6’3″ he just isn’t as capable of defending bigger players or shooting over them.

  • Pookeyguru

    Tyreke Evans? Are you freaking kidding me? He is th emost overrated player in the entire league. WTF?!

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Who said that Kobe was as good as Jordan? No one. Kobe is the only player comparable to Jordan. You see it or you don’t. You talk about longevity and then bring up how D-Wade has a higher PPG average. Common man. D-Wade is not the one to bring up when your talking about longevity. You refuse to see what is right in front of you. Kobe is the most similar player to Jordan since Jordan thus he is comparable. You can try and get the dictionary to change the defintion of “comparable” if you don’t like it though…. good luck on that front.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    You think Pau Gasol can lead a team to a championship is that right nbk? I mean don’t get me wrong Memphis was a hell of a team… oh thats right, they got swept when Pau was “The Guy” Kobe is “The Guy” on the lakers. Has been every year since Shaq left. Your drinking some haterade if you think Pau is the reason for the Lakers success. Did you happen to see Pau in the playoffs last year? What about back in 08 vs the Celts. You must not have watched cause you think Pau is way better than he is if you think Kobe is 2nd to him on the team.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    If you want to talk to me about that you can do it in the appropriate place. I’m not bringing your need to argue over this onto all these people. Kobe plays like Jordan. He is comparable in the style of play. But he’s not nearly as good, if you have anything else to say, say it where the conversation began. Your acting like a frustrated child.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Man, this just means Blake Griffin made an epic leap into the standings…

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Nope that’s exactly what I needed you to admit to yourself. Conversations over. niQ don’t you think Griffin should be? I would be appalled if he wasn’t in the top 25.

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    I said that yesterday moron

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Hey hey, easy on the name calling. My sooper cool friend told me it’s not nice to do that and makes one look unintelligent :)

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    Only wheb it isnt merited. This was. Your a moron

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Keep it classy buddy. Mine was joking fun about wearing man panties(is that even a joke that should ever be taken as hard as you did). Lighten up pal.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    So no Brandon Roy in the top 50? How does everyone feel about that? Is he really not top 50 worthy with that injury?

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    No he isnt. Prolly not top 100

  • ctkennedy

    with the injuries it still aint a 100 better than BrandonRoy …50 cool a 100 no way in hell

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Really, wow, I mean he didn’t look great but he really is that bad now? Just a year ago he is a top 4 SG. Now not top 100. Damm. I watched him play at UW and I was surprised at how good he was in the NBA. But that’s a shame. He’s a guy who worked so hard at basketball. So is he out of the Blazers future then? Is he done entirely in the NBA? I guess Wes Matthews is a decent fill in. Maybe B-Roy can have a little Grant Hill style comeback maybe, or maybe that’s out of the question..

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    He a role player. But you are lucky to get 20 effective minutes out of him. And top 100 is optimistic, check ESpN’s NBA rank, what’d Roy come in their?

  • ctkennedy

    he is a role player but he can be ELITE for say 25 outta 82games that puts him top 10off the bench off that alone

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I can’t even find their top 100. I still have half a virus on my puter from yesterday so I can’t search for things on the internet I just have to type in a direct web page. ESPN . com is just showing me top 50.. Hmm

  • lockedoutthelockout

    monta is the most underrated player in the league. If you think tyreke is better than him…….good for you

    monta is the 3rd best SG in the league and has one of the best contracts too, great player, totally underapreciated

  • T-Money

    as crazy as it sounds, monta is one of the most underrated players in the league. it is fashionable to dismiss him as a chucker but that rep is unfair and undeserved (basically, if you’re a scoring 2-guard and you’re under 6’4 – you’re labelled a chucker). he plays hard, he has unbelievable stamina and he’s not afraid of big moments. even his defense is underrated as i’ve seen him play decent on-ball defense on much taller cats like kobe and jj. i really don’t know why most journalists think steph curry is better than him.

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    Its called nbarank. Im on my way back from lunch, ill find it

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    T-Money I disagree, he is rated approprietly by most. He isn’t going to lead any team to a championship. He is at best a average defender against bigger 2′s. Just because he tries hard on D doesn’t mean he is stopping anyone. But your right he is not a chucker. He is better then Curry(now) and he defintely is not afraid of any moment.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Roy came in at #59 on ESPN’s NBARank. So a lot of journalists are with y’all, thinkin he can be effective off the bench next season.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    a lot of experts* — And T-Money, I haven’t read anyone saying Curry is better today then Monta, just that his future his better and he will be easier to build a winner around. But haven’t seen anyone actually call him a better player right now.

  • golden state

    thank you Irv Soonachan. very well written. really enjoyed it.

  • golden state

    I hope the W’s don’t trade Monte..I hope he stays in golden state for the rest of his career.

  • Dr. DL

    Well I expected Roy to get this treatment. As a Blazers devotee I’ll admit it hurts to see him drop like this. But did anyone watch the Portland/Dallas series? Brandon killed it! Especially in that game he basically won singlehandedly including a clutch 4-point play down the stretch. The man can still will his team to victory when the situation calls for it, even with no cartilage in his knees. The skills he has cannot be taught and if Grant Hill can produce at the level he has been I promise Roy will be able to contribute significantly for years to come; their basketball IQ’s are comparable. But I think until Roy proves his worth again it’s to be expected that his rank takes the dip that it has. As far as Ellis goes I have always been baffled by the strong opinions about his worth. To me it seems like a no brainer: dude can flat out play and carry an offense. Guys who get to the rim like he does do not grow on trees and for any size he is an extraordinary finisher. I wouldn’t disagree with this ranking at all.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    He only “killed it” for (1) QUARTER that whole series. Y’all Blazer fans only watched that (1) quarter? He played 24 minutes that game, scored 24 points. I think he had 18 in the 4th quarter. The other games he had 0, 2, 16 (in 24 minutes), 5 and 9 points. lol hardly “killing it”

  • ctkennedy

    People kill me with the u cant win a title with Monta as your franchise player there is only about 7 franchise players in the WHOLE league so thats not sayin much

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Weird how they always seem to be the ones who win titles though huh? — That’s basketball. And that’s why Monta Ellis is overrated, he has to be your best player to win, except you can’t win a title with him. He’s like a lesser version of Allen Iverson. Which isn’t an insult at all, just the way I see it.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    It is saying much. That is every teams goal. To win a chip. Why would you want a guy who can’t do that? I think you could win with Durant/Melo/LeBron/D-Wade/Dirk/CP3/DerronWilliams/Blake Griffin/John Wall(most likely, unless he unlearns all of his skill and losing his speed)D-Rose/Kobe Bryant… Theres a few more that could be the best player on a championship team. Even Z-Bo could be. It’s a stretch, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Z-Bo as the man on a title contender. Monta is a good player. Real good. He’s elite at certain things. He isn’t who you want driving the car though. He could win a chip as the second man on a title contending team I do believe though.

  • AirForceONE

    Monta Ellis is ranked as the 41st best player in the NBA in the new ESPN NBA Rank. That is more like it. They asked more than 90 experts from ESPN.com, the TrueHoop Network, TrueHoop TV, Daily Dime Live, ESPN TV, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, espnW, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider, ESPN Fantasy, ESPN Games, ESPN Dallas, ESPN Los Angeles, ESPN Chicago, ESPN New York, ESPN Stats & Information, ESPN Topics and ESPN Analytics. That is legit!

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    yea, cuz experts work at ESPN.

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    nbk, that’s a fair statement, and it’s fair to rank monta in the top 25, because chances are if you pair monta with a top 20 talent (with the appropriate role players), that team has a legit chance at a title.
    back when baron and stack jack were still warriors, monta was the 3rd option on offense. he responded by scoring 20 a game on an absolutely ridiculous 53%

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    er, what i’m trying to say is, anyone ranked in the 20s is a very good player, but probably isn’t good enough to be the 1st option AND carry the team to the finals

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    and nbk, i disagree that monta has to be your best player if you want the team to win. the 06-07 warriors did very well with him as the 3rd option

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    No im saying no team is going to win a title with Monta Ellis. Teams can win games, maybe even a playoff series or two. But no titles. Until Ellis learns to be less of an alpha. And that Warriors team made the playoffs once, as an 8 seed, and ellis was a role player, off the bench. Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Al HarringtoN All shot more shots and scored more points then Monta Ellis. Also ellis only played 20MPG in the playoffs, down from 35 during the regular season.

  • T-Money

    nbk: no offense but i hate that logic. ellis doesn’t have to “learn” to be less of an alpha, the warriors need to bring somebody that’s better than him so he can be a number 2! who should he deferring to right now – steph, david lee, briedrins, wright? put him on a team with dwight or lebron or melo and he will kill as a 2nd option.

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    He’s a shooting guard. You want him as your second option? Your gonna win a championship with Monta Ellis next to a pg, and he will be a second option? When will he have the ball? He doesnt do anything but score off the dribble and pass when its a necessity. He’d be great as a scorer off the bench but he is far too good to accept a role like that. I just don’t see how it would work. Optimistically sure there is a way for him to win a title, but i don’t know what it realistically is. There are too many better player in NBA history who have played every kind of role that werent good enough to be the second option on a title team for an undersized shot heavy 2 guard to be the best or second best player on a title team. imo

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    T-Money i dont take offense to anything here man don’t stress.

  • MUBWAR

    ellis is 1 of the most overrated player in the league. Besides steals, 1.his 1 on 1 D is atrocious. 2.his brain doesn’t have an explanation for the word : assist. And last, his scoring lacks the efficiency of a top 25 player. His standing at 41 with ESPN is closer than Slam’s.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Co-sign T-Money.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ nbk: Not true. Monta does have the ability to be an efficient off-the-ball scorer. He averaged 20 a game on 53% shooting alongside two other 20 point scorers, both of whom handled the ball more than him.

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    nbk, that warriors team made the playoffs AFTER they traded for stephen jackson and al harrington. basically, they made the playoffs by going on huge winning streak to sneak into the playoffs. the next year, they won 49 games, and missed the playoffs. they were definitely better than just an 8 seed

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    mubwar, you have no idea what you’re talking about. ellis doesn’t know what an assist is? how about this: he led the entire league for assists among shooting guards.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    (a few years back). The only reason he takes more shots now is because the Warriors have no one else to score consistently.
    @ Mubwar: Well he’s a shooting guard who averages 5 assists a game. 45% shooting for a shooting guard is not that bad. At all. The only difference between 45% and 50% shooting when you take his number of FG attempts is ONE make. People always take FG% way out of context.

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    but yea, what do you mean he needs to learn how not to be an alpha? like t-money said, there is no one on the team he should be deferring to. many times, he is the only offensive option, and is asked to bail the team out on possessions cuz keith smart had no idea how to run offensive plays.
    and yea, he scores in more ways than just off the dribble: his slashes and give and go’s are basically unguardable because of his speed and ability to finish at the rim. i’m actually surprised david lee wasn’t utilized on the high post to let monta slash, especially with lee’s passing ability.
    and like people are saying, he deferred to baron davis and stephen jackson in 07-08, and ended up scoring 20 on 53%. he already knows how to defer to better talent

  • MUBWAR

    im just being hard on ellis because just like Josh Smith, if his basketball IQ was a little higher and he made better decisions he can easily average 20 and 8. Sorta like a marbury type of player. I am sorry but averaging 24.1 points on 20.1 shots is not efficient. I’ll take steph curry, at least he tries on D

  • ChipS

    Brandon Roy is far from done! Watch!….. and as far as the Dallas series he did flash some old B-Roy so that alone tells me he’s far from done. Find a contending team and add a healthy B-Roy as a second option. Lethal! If only it worked out that way!

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Teddy, sorry but the difference between shooting 45% and shooting 50% is huge in the grand scheme of things (82gm season).
    Carry on. *back to 2K12*

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    since when was shooting 45% as a shooting guard considered inefficient?

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    you also want your shooting guard to average 8 assists a game?

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    I never said he can’t score. He doesnt benefit a team as a heavy minute third option, he’s not good enough as a defender. He isnt even scoring at that elite of a clip, for example, he only outscores Stephen Curry by 1.6 points per 36 minutes. Despite shooting 2.8 more shots in the same amount of time, with 1 less assist and rebound. And he was on a rookie contract with those other 2, so that was likely the only time he’ll ever play in anything but a 1st or 2nd option role.

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    and how’re you gonna say monta is inefficient, but say you want him to be sorta like a marbury type of player? marbury only shot 45% twice in his career

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    He’s not efficient at all when you factor in how horrible he is guarding shooting guards.

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    nbk, those kind of stats never tell the whole story

  • nbaNw8

    Should be higher on the list in my opinion

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    Oh yeah your right. Lets look at their record. Nope lets not do that. How bout we take a look at if the Warriors are better with Monta Ellis on the bench….gulp, better not do that either. Hmmm there seems to be no way anyone can show Monta Ellis has a positive impact on the Warriors except for raw statistical numbers…that tell you only that he scored points at a pretty good clip, and played a ton of minutes. None of that says he’s a good enough player to merit this kind of praise.

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    this season was a joke because keith smart was our coach. other than that, once the we believe squad left, i really doubt any superstar in the league outside of kobe or lebron could take a team full of D-leaguers anywhere meaningful.
    when monta goes to the bench, it’s at the end of the game when it’s garbage time. so yes, the team will perform better when he goes to the bench, because they’re playing against the other teams garbage players.

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    it also doesn’t help when the big man rotation consists of dan gadzuric, injured ekpe udoh, injured andris biedrins, david lee nearly needing his arm to get amputated, injured lou amundson, rodney carney, vladimir radmonivic…

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    David Lee, & Stephen Curry are not D-Leaguers in fact they have both been on this list. Neither is Dorell Wright (anymore) Biedrins, or Reggie Williams. The Hornets were less talented, especially after David West’s knee exploded. Utah with all their various issues were also less talented. But their best players were better on both ends of the court. And they won more games. Thats gotta fall somewhat on Ellis, this is basketball, where your best player effects the outcome more then in any other sport.

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    If the warriors garbage players are in, the other teams garbage players are in. Doesnt account for the gap. and the Gap is all defensive. Just to let you know.

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    the hornets have chris paul + monty williams, and utah had deron williams + jerry sloan for a good chunk of the season. the hornets made the playoffs, utah spiraled once they lost deron & sloan. yes, they will be ranked higher than monta, and rightfully so. they are better players. in fact, they’re in the A+/A tier of NBA players, so their teams by principle will do pretty well.
    when david west went down, the hornets were able to replace him with carl landry. when david lee and steph curry went down, the warriors replaced them with acie law & vladimir radmonivic.

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    and i’m here to let you know that it’s not true, because i catch a lot of warrior games and i saw keith smart keep dorrell and steph in during garbage time.

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    look, i’m not saying monta is a superstar, or that your team can win a championship with him as the 1st option. it probably can’t. but i do believe he is an extremely good 2nd option, one that gives your team a good shot at winning a title.
    being ranked #23 basically shows that he falls in the B+ tier, which is exactly where i feel he belongs.
    like in the gordon thread, it seems like we’re both set in our beliefs of monta. which is fine. but myself, and SLAM truly believe that monta is the 3rd or 4th best SG in the league.
    if you dont believe it, watch his games (not his stats). otherwise, we’ll agree to disagree

  • T-Money

    nothing “has” to fall on anybody. if you think monta’s play is the reason why gstate is not winning more, then say that. if not, what are we talking about? monta has excellent vision for a 2-guard and is not a ball hog at all. his shooting numbers are decent for a scoring 2-guard too and he showed that he can have outstanding efficiency when surrounded by other scorers (53% is crazy at the 2-spot). and his defense is not horrendous at all. granted, it’s not good either but he’s not kevin martin or steph curry (ha!) out there. i really do think monta’s curse is his height – people want him to play like a 1 because he’s smallish so when they say he’s a chucker, it’s because they unconsciously compare him to 1s. take the exact same game, the same defense and the exact same stats and say mont a is 6’5 – we’re not having this discussion.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    I say this is about right, If you think there are 41 better players than monta, I question your basketball knowledge.

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    I dont think he’s any worse then top 30, I just dont think he’s good enough to merit the praise he gets from some people. I respect your opinion david, its just not how I see it. – and T-Money – i think Gstate isnt winning because of who the former management chose to pay superstar money and a bunch of other bad personnel decisions. If they decide to keep Monta and Curry that will be why they won’t progress as a team. Trading Monta to Philadelphia seems like the best thing for all parties. A team of defenders and athletes around ellis and young in Philli (team would make the playoffs and be a decent challenge as a 6 or 7 seed) and Iguodala to immediately solve their perimeter defensive problems in Gstate.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/MichaelJR_NZ Michael NZ

    23? Too high. More like 33.

  • sc

    Monta isn’t being paid superstar money. In fact, he has one of the best contracts in the league.

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    11 million a year. So a littles less than a fifth of all your cap space.

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    David Lee somewhere around that too

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    Monta to Orlando would make them a contender.

  • Hugo

    seems like slam needs to create an ‘essay section’ so lakeshow can continue to enlighten us with his unprecedented nba knowledge……

  • Ken

    Incredibly well written; a pleasure to read. Thank you for your effort on this, it shows.

  • T-Money

    david lee is a terrible contract – THAT’S crippling the team. 11 mil a year is the going rate for a guy like monta. how much would you pay him? 9? does that make a difference?

  • http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/10/4/2468098/nba-lockout-2011-owners-david-stern-robert-sarver-the-hook Allenp

    Monta’s contract is really fair.
    David Lee’s is an atrocity.
    $11 million for a bonafide second option with All-Star talent is more than good value. It’s great value. No, Monta shouldn’t be the best option on your team unless you have a team full of good players like Detroit in 2004, but if you had a legit top tier big and another decent wing, that team could be a serious contender.
    If Curry progresses, and they find some better big, especially defensively, they can have success in my opinion. Portland did it with Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter, and I would say that Steph and Monta had the combined talent to approach that level of a backcourt. Mainly because I think Steph, if he improves on defense a LOT, can be better than Porter.

  • http://Slamonline.coM nbk

    But Monta can never defend like Drexler. He’s the size of a PG, Drexler was a long 6’7″ – Monta is not as good as Drexler was and never will be.

  • http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/10/4/2468098/nba-lockout-2011-owners-david-stern-robert-sarver-the-hook Allenp

    I can’t really remember Drexler as a great defender. But, my point still stands. I think GSW could compete with an improvement of their bigs and better defense. I won’t compare them to the Bad Boy Pistons because neither Monta or Steph compare to Dumars, let alone Isiah, but I think it’s possible to have your two best players be your point guard and shooting guard and still be a great team.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Wait wait wait, are you saying Joe Dumars is better then Clyde Drexler? And I think its possible for a team to win titles with their two best players being guards, just not being two defensively deficient guards who happen to be the exact same size.

  • T-Money

    nbk: you’re too focussed on monta’s size – watch the games. he doesn’t get bullied by 2-guards and putting him on an island in the low block doesn’t work that well. i bet you’d have a completely different opinion of his game if he were 6’5 and the exact same skillset and defensive abilities. i’ve seen monta defend kobe and he didn’t look any worse than your typical 6’6 sg. dude is not a tweener, he’s a real 2-guard it doesn’t matter that he’s the same size as steph curry. throw a real number 1 on that team and they contend. (btw, 11 mil for a number 2 option is good money – it’s not his fault the team doesn’t have superstar talent).

  • sc

    IMO Monta is hurt by the system he plays in. Mike Montgomery, for all his shortcomings, was a slow-it-down, defense-first type of guy and Monta shined coming off the bench and pressuring the point in the halfcourt. He has good lateral quickness and quick hands. Golden State the last several years has had a run-n-gun system that advocates a gambling type of defense that constantly has players out of position. That coupled with playing 40 minutes a game at a fast pace tells a pretty accurate picture of what kind of production to expect from the defensive end.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    T-Money I watch all the warriors games I can. Ellis gets trashed by big 2′s. Kobe included. Kobe put up 39, 38, 26, 25 on 61, 57, 50, and 41% shooting last season. He torched Ellis.

  • Tfan24

    75 % percent of the people who write and blog about Ellis do not even watch the Warriors play, especially ESPN writers. Anybody who consistently watch the Warriors play will know that Monta Ellis is the best player on that team hands down(no disrespect to Curry). Forget about all that PER etc…the man has raw talent, instinct, and athletic ability. Thats a lethal combination in all sports that many don’t possess. If Ellis was anything less than the player I describe him to then the Warriors would have dealt him already. People call Ellis overrated. He is ranked 41 by ESPN and has been a top 10 scorer and stealer in the league for two years straight. Ranking Ellis 41 is ignorant for some and biased for others. True Warriors fans know Monta’s talent and will understand where I’m coming from.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Irv Soonachan

    Thanks everyone for the great comments. I agree about Monta’s raw talent, and I also think his ranking by SLAM is about right, give or take a few slots. I think to join the elite of the elite he needs to become more of a threat to drive and kick — then defenses would have to stay at home on him more, which would make him pretty much unstoppable. If he became a deadlier shot from 3 that would also help. But for people who point out his relatively low PER, I say that if you cut his minutes to something more reasonable, you’d see his efficiency and his defense both improve.

  • Seven Duece

    Monta is AI pt. 2, only diluted. The polarizing nature (accompanying hate) & game are less brash; but the kid can play. Probably won’t be in G-State much longer unfortunately. Bring him to Orlando, so we can have a true offensive threat to take the heat off Dwight.

  • Jack Lapham

    slam thank you so much. ESPN won’t give this guy credit at all. They think he’s overrated because he isn’t a good defender and that he takes to much shots and that he isn’t efficient. Well he’s a risky defender and undersized, but he isn’t as bad of a defender as people give him credit for. He took as much shots as kobe last year and made the same percentage of them, which is a fact. He doesn’t take bad shots either, with his playing time he could average 30 shots a game trust me. He isn’t efficient, just because he plays a lot of minutes, probably gets tired, and he isn’t the greatest defender in the world. Doesn’t mean he’s a bad player, it just means the Warriors need to cut down his playing time, so he can play at 100% every time he’s on the floor. Not to forget, Steph Curry was rated better then Monta in the player rankings this year. I MEAN COME ON YOU HAVE TO BE JOKING. Steph is great don’t get me wrong, but is he Monta good? NO! I just hate how ESPN constantly overrates Monta. Slam, you’re right ESPN is wrong!

  • http://slamonline 3kings

    top ten scorer and a threat for 40 every night. should have been higher

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