I hope you all are paying close attention. If you are, you’re witnessing Monta Ellis take his game to another level.
He’s not just scoring because the other team is focused elsewhere. He’s not just living off the exploits of Stephen Jackson and Baron Davis. He’s making it happen independent of his teammates, sometimes even in spite of.
He carried the Warriors against the Kings tonight. Literally. He has scored 56 points on 22-for-26 from the floor his last two games. One thing I don’t understand is, when someone is going like that, why is Jackson and Davis taking more shots than Monta? Both nights they did. Shouldn’t they be feeding the hot hand. Monta is on fire.
Archive for February, 2008
I hope you all are paying close attention. If you are, you’re witnessing Monta Ellis take his game to another level.
Editor’s note: This is the first of what should turn into a regularly scheduled online “chat” with Marcus Thompson II, the Bay Area News Group’s NBA writer and author of the “Inside the Warriors” blog.
Joe T.: What’s your opinion about the Warriors’ playoff chances this year?
Marcus Thompson II: They are much better than at the beginning of
the season. I just knew the Warriors were going to finish 10th in the West. Now, I’m
not so sure. They are better than Denver. They are better than Portland (despite
their 0-2 record against the Blazers). They are better than Houston. Usually, the
better teams prevail. Will it be a dog fight? Sure. Could they end up in the draft
lottery? Absolutely. But with the way they play on the road, I think they have as
good a chance as anyone.
Ron: What would it take to get Ron Artest from the Kings, and do you
think it would be a good move?
Marcus Thompson II: I would offer Mickael Pietrus and Patrick
O’Bryant, and one or two draft picks. But I would not be at all surprised if
Sacramento just decided they were not going to help a Pacific Division rival. Since
there will be other teams bidding for Artest’s services, such as Denver, they could
get something good for him without helping a foe. The Warriors would have to really
sweeten the deal, make it a no-brainer. The only way I see them doing that is with
picks. I don’t think they’ll give up Brandan Wright or Marco Belinelli or Kelenna
Azubuike for Artest, because he could opt out and be gone at season’s end. If they
did manage to get him, I like the move. Artest is usually pretty good the first few
months after a trade because he is focused and has something to prove. If that
pattern flies, he’ll be on good behavior for the stretch run and play good ball. That
will only motivate him to opt out, as he’s only scheduled to make $7.4 million next
season, pretty low for his production. The Warriors could end up signing him, if they
really like him, or just renting him. Even if Artest doesn’t opt out, it won’t be
costing the Warriors much. Either way, they’ve added another talented piece without
sacrificing the core..
Goldy Fan: Why did the Warriors sign Chris Webber when they could
have just let Brandan Wright play more?
Marcus Thompson II: Coach Don Nelson doesn’t believe Wright is ready
to contribute right now, especially not while the team is fighting for a playoff
spot. It’s hard to disagree with him. At best, Wright could give the Warriors spot
minutes, energy off the bench. That certainly would help his development. But the
Warriors need a playmaker. They need someone who can draw a double team and make
things happen. Wright isn’t there yet. Webber, they are hoping, is.
NateDogg: Did Nelson sign Webber just to repair some old wounds?
Marcus Thompson II: I don’t think so. Nellie is old, rich andaccomplished. He doesn’t care about that type of stuff. He could repair therelationship with Webber on his own time. Nellie is concerned about winning and
making money. Believe it.
Craig, Oakland: In your opinion, will the Warriors shop Mickael
Pietrus before the trade deadline?
Marcus Thompson II: Will they? They’ve been shopping him since the
offseason, probably before that. I’m not sure whether the Warriors want too much for
MP2, or if he just has no value on the trade market. For sure they’ve been shopping
him though, and will continue to shop him. Knowing Mullin, though, he won’t pull the
trigger unless it’s a deal he likes.
Stan, Walnut Creek: Will having the TPE (traded player exception) be
any help for the Warriors come deadline time or are too many teams scared of the
Marcus Thompson II: It isn’t that other teams are afraid of the
luxury tax, as several are willing to pay it. It’s that the Warriors don’t want to
pay it. Team president Robert Rowell has said time again that the team will pay the
tax. But it has to be worth it. They would’ve paid the tax for Kevin Garnett. They’ll
probably pay the tax for another core piece if management was convinced that player
would push the Warriors to another level. They won’t do it, I don’t think, for a
quick fix. If I had to guess, I’d say that TPE expires on June 28 without the
Warriors using it.
Kory K.: In looking toward the playoffs, which team do the Warriors
match up with the best?
Marcus Thompson II: The obvious answer is Dallas. The Mavericks have
no answer for Baron Davis, while the Warriors have an answer for Dirk Nowitzki. But I
would be leery about seeing Dallas again, if I were the Warriors. Revenge is a great
motivator. So, with that said, I would go with Houston or Phoenix. Houston because
they can’t keep up with the Warriors. They don’t have the firepower to last in a
seven-game series. And Phoenix because the Warriors can run with them, even out run
them, because they don’t play any defense. It would be a high-scoring affair. I would
say the Warriors _ especially now that the Suns have replaced Shawn Marion with Shaq
_ have more firepower.
W’s4Ever: Will Monta Ellis ever become a big-time point guard?
Marcus Thompson II: No. He’ll become a big-time combo guard. Think
Allen Iverson or Gilbert Arenas, not Steve Nash or Chris Paul. Point guards are born.
They have intangibles you can’t learn, such as vision, a relationship with the ball
(in regards to dribbling), innovation and spontaneity. Monta doesn’t have that. He
has an innate ability to put the ball in the hole, though. And he can defend point
guards. That’ll make him a really good, if not great, player for years to come. But
not a big-time point guard.
BDiddy21: Are the Warriors REALLY trying to trade for Ron Artest?
Why! Wouldn’t he just create more trouble than he’s worth?
Marcus Thompson II: As I said before, it would more than likely be a
quick fix, which the Warriors prefer. They don’t want to bring in someone who will
eat up cap for the future, unless that guy is going to be part of the core. Artest
would come in and make the Warriors better immediately. Then he’ll likely opt out.
The Warriors would possibly talk to him about re-signing, but if the price is too
high, he walks, and both sides get what they want. Artest gets a chance to play for
something in March and April, and maybe even May and June. The Warriors get a good
playoff run before making some difficult roster decisions.
MagicMan: Will Chris Webber be happy playing limited minutes and a
limited role, or do you expect him to whine about not getting enough shots?
Marcus Thompson II: I don’t know Webber enough to answer that
question. But I know enough to know not to buy into what he’s saying. He’s saying all
the right things. But Webber is charming, very personable and smart. He understands
how to play the media game because he’s been around the block awhile. What was he
supposed to say? “If I don’t get 30 minutes, all hell will break loose.” Webber is
smarter than that. He said what he wanted us to hear. That doesn’t mean he’ll whine.
But it certainly doesn’t mean he won’t.
Oaktown510: Read your blog about going after Shawn Marion. I’m all
for it. Now, do you think it’s realistic?
Marcus Thompson II: The Lakers just got Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown.
Miami just unloaded $40 million worth of an out-of-shape, injured, aging man onto
Phoenix. It is realistic, more realistic than before as Phoenix wouldn’t want to help
the Warriors. Miami, on the other hand, should have no reservations and may want to
pick up a couple of players and some picks instead of letting Marion opt out and walk
Here’s my one knock on Baron. He turns it on and off.
Part of it is because he’s so good. The game really does come “Too Easy” to him. Part of it is because he carries such a big load for this team, and it’s practically impossible to have it “on” all the time. But part of it is because he’s not mature enough of a point guard to not overlook lesser opponents.
Duhon has 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting. He scored his season high in 10 minutes. Monta was matched up with him. But I give Baron some of the blame for that. Monta loses focus on defense. He gets lost in the shuffle when he’s competing against a less heralded guy. He spent the first quarter losing sight of Duhon, waiving at him instead of running out to contest his shot. Remember Monta was a pesky defender? He is when he wants to be. Assuredly, he can turn it on in a blink just as Baron. But it’s a bad habit for such a young talent.
Baron is the king of that. B.D. lifts his play against the best PGs, and coasts against the lesser ones. From eyes, Monta is picking up that habit.
Baron should go for 40 regularly against some of the other point guards in this league. He should be averaging double-digits in assists. He is undefendable one-on-one, and against many double teams. But he coasts when he’s not motivated, and he bails out the defense too much with jumpers. He relaxes on defense against the no-name PGs in the league.
When Baron gets to the point where he can play at an All-Star level no matter who he’s going against, he’ll be in the Hall of Fame. Let’s hope that starts while he’s playing alongside Monta.
Chicago is terrible.
The adrenaline is pumping.
This game is made for Webber to break out.
Phoenix may have paved the way for the Warriors to get Marion, though they’d likely have to pay the tax to get him.
Miami, who acquired the Matrix on Tuesday, will either have to sign him to an extension (he can opt out at season’s end, walking away from $17.1 million) or trade him. Otherwise, he walks as a free agent.
The Heat certainly would not have the same apprehensions as Phoenix about sending Marion to Golden State. Miami may even be looking to build around Marion and Wade (and don’t look now, but they just cleared a lot cap space to make a run at a free agent-to-be, such as Baron Davis). The Heat can’t afford a rebuilding process as Wade has just two years left on his deal after this season. But if they can get more value out of Marion on the trade market than on the court, the Warriors could be a real player. A running, finishing, rebounding, defending power forward would fit well in Nellie’s system. And he’s a career 34 percent 3-point shooter, which is better than BD and Jax.
“How do we get better given the depth in the West? With Monta and Beans playing so well, their agents will be demanding top dollar for their new contracts. And even though we have leverage since they are restricted free agents, we may have to dig deep. If Baron stays, we keep Monta and Beans, and keep Bukie and maybe Barnes, we will still have to sign and pay two new rookies plus Wright, Kosta and Bellineli. If all that happens, wouldn’t we be at our cap limit and not be able to sign a free agent, even Webber if he works out? So how do we get better if not this season than at least next?” – Commish
Their agents can’t demand anything. The market will determine what they get. Unless they negotiate solely with the Warriors and agree to a deal Mullin likes, the Warriors will likely wait to see what offers they get, then match. Pretty much what they did with Pietrus, accept at some point they come to terms.
Biedrins and Ellis will probably get less than everyone expects. Restricted free agency isn’t the pot o’ gold it used to be. Teams will probably not be willing to sign these two to an offer sheet because a) they know the Warriors will match, b) their cap space could be locked up for seven days while the Warriors decide; c) there will be other, perhaps more desirable restricted free agents, such as Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala and Emeka Okafor, who will hog the offer sheets; d) they would have to go above and beyond the market value to get the Warriors not to match.
You’re right, if they keep every body, they will be over the cap and can’t sign a free agent. The only way they have cap space for free agency is if Baron doesn’t come back, or if Beans and Monta walk, which is unlikely.
The way the Warriors get better: trades. They have Harrington, Pietrus, Barnes, two draft picks, four young players. Who knows, they may be willing to part with Biedrins, too, depending on who they can get for him (Okafor?).
His line — 10 points on 2-for-9 shooting, no rebounds, four assists — was better than his actual performance. I don’t think I’ve ever seen J-Rich look so bad.
He was a total non-factor, missing lay-ups and looking lost. I expected him to go off, to be honest. Just to send a message.
Instead, he made that trade look even better than it does on paper. He’s having a good season, and this game was more an anamoly, but I feel bad for the guy. You know he has to miss playing here, miss performing in front of this crowd and in this atmosphere. I don’t care what he says.
Leave it to the purple and gold to upstage the Warriors.
After making national news by re-signing Webber, the Lakers outshine the Warriors by stealing Pau Gasol from Memphis. Welcome to Warriors World, where winning a first-round series is a feat, where former players become All-Stars and the Lakers always make a bigger splash.
If all they gave up was scrub Kwame Brown, rookie guard Javaris Crittendon, AARP treasurer Aaron McKie and future first rounders, why couldn’t the Warriors have gotten Gasol?
Clearly Memphis is just trying to dump salary, taking back expiring or cheap contracts and draft picks. The Warriors could’ve done that, right? Patrick O’Bryant, Mickael Pietrus and Matt Barnes are all expiring. Marco Belinelli and Kelenna Azubuike are cheap. The Warriors could go five years without a draft pick, all the projects they have on the bench.
So why couldn’t they do it? They would’ve been way in the luxury tax bracket, as Gasol is pulling in $50 over the next four years after this one. The Warriors probably would’ve wanted to give up Al Harrington to lower the tax penalties, but Memphis obviously didn’t want salary back.
The bottom line is Buss has endless pockets, Cohan doesn’t. Lakers win.