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Monta Ellis Unplugged

Ya boy was at practice on Thursday. And, guess what? After chatting with Jamal Crawford, Keith Smart and Kelenna Azubuike, he stopped and talked to us. Here you go (warning: it’s long).

How does it feel to be back?

Great, man, you know what I mean? Being around my teammates, start back doing what I love doing — that’s playing basketball.

Can you dunk right now?

No.

What can you do?

Not too much, just a little jog, a little shooting. I’m just doing my rehab to get my ankle stronger. Just, really just balance work. That’s all.

What was that like, watching that nine-game losing streak? Did you follow it closely?

Uhhh, it was pretty ugly at first, but we’re on a two-game winning streak, so put that nine on behind us and move forward now.

Has this been the most agonizing part of your basketball life?

Yeah. That’s with anybody. You just sit out and just watch, watch something you love doing, it’s really hard. But, my fans, my teammates, the organization, everybody’s been supportive. My family. And, you know, I’m just trying to do everything I can to get back on the court, you know, to help my team win. That’s it.

What did you think about (Jamal) Crawford coming here?

I think he’s a great fit. With our style of play and his ability to score and pass the ball. And not only that, he can get after it on defense. I see that he’s tried to put people in good positions to make basketball plays and make our team better. So I think it’s a great fit for us.

Will it help you, that you won’t have to carry the point guard load by yourself?

In Don Nelson’s system, we really don’t have a point guard. It’s just get the ball and everybody run it up the court. So, um, it’s going to be pretty much like it was me and Baron (Davis) last year. I bring the ball up, he brings the ball up, and we just work off each other.

Are you ahead of where you want to be right now?

Slightly. I feel great. No pain nowhere. Just trying to get stronger. That’s it.

Are you any less worried now than after the injury that you’ll be able to come back 100 percent?

I was never worried.

You were never worried?

Never worried. At all.

So no doubt about it?

Nah.

One of the things Don Nelson has said is that he’s not sure what kind of player you’ll be when you come back…

The same player I left. The same player I was before I left, or even stronger. No doubts about that.

In your mind, what is the timetable?

I couldn’t tell you that, uh, right now. I’m just going to take it day by day, um, rehab by rehab, and we’ll see how it goes.

Is it tough for you not to come back too fast?

It’s not tough because if you try to come back too fast, then you end up getting hurt again, and then you’ve got to sit out again. So it’s just, it’s a timetable, and we’ve all just got to get on the same page and hopefully get back to where we’re trying to get.

I know you have to go through the process, but do you have a date in your own mind that you’d like to be back?

No. Like I said, I’m not focusing on trying to rush back, I’m focusing on trying to get stronger, and get healthy to come back to do what I was doing before I got hurt.

You and Jeff Fried didn’t agree with the decision the team made. How tough is it going to be to put that all behind you?

I’ve been put that behind me, once it was over with. You know what I mean. It’s nothing. It’s just like a father and son disagreement, and they put it behind each other and come back together.

Are you excited to come back and play for this team?

Very excited. I’ve got great teammates, great coaches, great style of play and it’s just exciting to watch.

Looking at this team as opposed to last year’s, what do you see yourself bringing to this team?

Um, this year, I think I’m going to have to be more of a leader, trying to guide the young guys, because I see a lot of them going through the things that I was going through my rookie and second year, and try to bring them along, try to show them the process. (It’s) not Nellie just trying to get after them. It’s just he sees something in them, and he’s just trying to bring it out. That’s all.

Would you say your relationship with the organization is stronger now, after all of this?

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Yeah, we’re good. I don’t have no problem with them. They gave me my contract. Why should I have a problem with them?

Are you concerned at all about the fact they say they still have …

I’m not concerned about nothing. I’m just trying to get back on the court and help my team win. That’s it. All the other stuff is behind me. I’m just focusing on basketball now.

So there’s no reason to think you wouldn’t be playing for this team again?

Oh, no. Oh, no. I’ll be here.

What areas of your game do you think will be stronger because of this time off?

Every part. Everything. Whatever everything is to you, that’s everything.

Can you compare this injury to the one you had in high school?

Nah. No way.

You mean this is much worse, or you just can’t compare?

You can’t compare. In high school, I was only out for two weeks when I had my injury.

I thought you had surgery?

Yeah, and I was only out for two weeks, and that was it. This is three, four months, so there’s no comparison. But I will recover 100 percent and be the same player I was before I left, or even stronger.

That injury dampened some of your numbers at the combine, right? Did you come back to early from that injury in high school?


Yes, because I was going through the draft at the time, and I had to come back.

And didn’t that kind of knock down some of your numbers in terms of the physical skills tests?

That’s what they say. I don’t know. I never tried to find out. I got drafted by Golden State and I put all that behind me.

What have this last six months been like, this roller-coaster — the contract, the accident, the rehab. What’s it been like for you?

Got the contract: lovely. Injury: setback. Now, everything’s peaches and cream. You know, I’m walking again, back around my teammates, shooting, about to get back to doing what I love doing.

Are you worried at all? This team’s 7-15. Are you worried they’re going to be too far behind, in terms of the playoff race, by the time you come back?

Nah. Ain’t nobody really doing nothing in the West but the Lakers. You look at everybody else, we’re not too far behind them. So, you can’t worry about that. It’s just whenever I come back, whatever the record is, we’ll just move on from there. You can’t predict, if I come back, we’ll go 10-0 or 20-0. We can’t predict that. Just got to come back, I’ll fit back in with the team, we’ll put it all together and see what we can do with it.

Is part of your confidence that you’ll overcome this that you’ve overcome this is because you’ve overcome so much before?

I’ve been in a lot of situations, and I’ve been through a lot. It was just how I was brought up. I’m just a tough person. I stay positive, never down myself, never try to down anything around me. I just stay happy, keep my family close, and my teammates, and just live life. That’s it.

Looking forward to being around the team and traveling?

Yeah, all that.

What’s going to be your role on that end? You haven’t been a cheerleader in your career yet.

I’ve been a cheerleader for three months now. (Laughs.) So it ain’t nothing new.

Many guys who have sat out say watching the game from the bench gives them a whole different perspective?

It does. You can see the good things and bad things, the things you need to work on, the things you’re strong at. It just really helps me as a player to help us as a team, to come back and give the input of what I’ve seen when I was on the sideline and put it together when I come back. Or before.

Where do you think you will help this team the most?

What do you mean?

What specific areas …

You know I do everything. That’s offense, defense, hustle, whatever. I do it all.

But you’ve been watching this team and know where the weaknesses are. So I guess I wonder which of those you think you’ll be able to address.

Right now, it’s leadership. Bring everybody together, put everybody on the same page, let everybody know what their role is and what we expect from them as a player on this team.

Is that going to be your challenge since you’re only in your fourth year, still a young guy? Is that going to be your challenge, being a leader?

Not at all.

Is that quality something that you really decided you want to bring since seeing this team play this year, or is it something you’ve been thinking about for a while?

It’s just we’ve got to bring Warriors basketball back — that’s running. That’s what I bring to the table, and that’s what I’m trying to bring back. The leadership, I always had that. Last year, I had put my input in and guys responded to it. Baron did what he did, and we all responded to it. But it’s just me more being, instead of 50 percent, it’s like pretty much 100 percent right now of being a leader. And I really don’t have to take the 100 percent because we’ve got Crawford now and we’ve got Stephen Jackson.

You and Baron were always an exciting backcourt. Can you and Jamal be similarly exciting?

Yeah, something like that.

Why? What is it about you guys’ games?

To be honest, I think we’ll be more exciting because both of us can run. Not taking nothing from Baron, you know what I mean, but both of us like to get up and run up and down the court, get fast break points. And so, like I said, when I get back it’ll be exciting to see us two.

Following up on one thing, you talked about leadership. A lot of people see this as Stephen Jackson’s team. Do you see this as your team?

No. This is the Golden State Warriors team. I’m just a player that puts in input. That’s it. We’re not trying to get into a debate about whose team this is. It’s all our team. All of us have got to put situations and a lot on our back to carry this team to get it back to what we do. That’s being exciting and running and hopefully getting back to the playoffs.

Can you say what happened in the accident?

Nah.

Marcus Thompson

  • R.A.W.

    Yo

  • R.A.W.

    I usually blog at “inside the Oakland raiders” so yea, what up?

  • DT

    “Ya boy”? How old are you, 14? How about taking your job seriously.

  • Thomas

    Come back soon Monta.

  • Todd Shaw

    Go Monta!

  • http://www.disneylandsecrets.com/ disneyland tickets

    great to hear from monta again. i really hope he recovers to 100% and better. it seems like he hasnt lost his confidence and isnt affected by the warriors management playing hardball. go warriors!

  • Mr. B

    That was an expensive moped ride. Hope this guy learned something from it and realizes what a bad situation he’s put the Ws in.

  • JustPuked

    Thanks Marcus!

  • Derek

    It’s not to late for the Warriors to turn their season around.

    Trading Maggette and Brandon Wright of an inside beast like Al Jefferson or Omeka Okufur would make them instantly better and solve their inside issues.

    Having Jefferson and Monte would give them two go-to-guys, making them legit contenders.

  • MountainJim

    Ah, the dreams of a Warriors fan.

  • GSWFan24

    Nice try on attempting to invite Monta into a conflict with Jackson…This kid is sharp and sniffed out your dividing question MARCUS. He could have went all T.O on you but he didn’t, good job Monta!

  • blah

    Yes, that question was BS. Fan’s don’t want you kicking the bee hive. That is exactly the type of question that makes people hate the media aka Drama queens looking to create a story.

    For Monta, I just hope he takes his time. Even extra time. A couple extra months is okay with me, but nothing less than 100+% is too soon and not worth the risk or re-injury.

  • PhilB

    Good to see Monta talking to the press. His silence following the accident and during his suspension was nerve-wracking. At least Monta and management (i.e. Rowell) seem to be in reasonably good spirits…
    But Crawford “being able to get after it on defense?” He should’ve said “he NEEDS to get after it on defense”!

  • danikil49

    Trading Maggette would be good, But let’s wait and see how good Wright is before we give up on a 6’10 inch player who is developing nicely.How about trading Don Nelson and Maggette for future considerations or maybe a second rounder. Nelson has never won NBA championship because he gets in his own way. His ego won’t let him make calculated adjustments because he thinks he is smart. Smart people know they have much to learn. Utah used a small ball lineup against Portland the other night with success because Sloan adjusts. Go Warriors in spite of Nelso and Rowell!!

  • A.J.

    You’re absolutely right about Sloan making adjustments “Danikil.” Just shows how much Portland has to go in that division. Tough division with Utah, Portland and Denver, very tough.

    You’re right about Nelson. He is his own worst enemy and for that reason I too believe he will never be a Champion. The exact oppposite is Jerry Sloan.

    See how slow and deliberate Derron Williams brings the ball up and sets up the offense. THey don’t even push the ball once, not one. Always slow, half-court offense to the point that the opposition concedes it. So if they hustle a couple of times throughout the game, they may be able to get easy baskets.

    I grew up watching “SHowtime Laker Basketball” so I do like the fast break offense more. But Sloan has been successful because of that offensive scheme and he has the players to execute it patiently.

    I;m not saying I completetly agree with that style of play. There were many times last night agains Portland, where Derron Williams could have pushed the ball up court. But he elected to hold on to the ball and let everyone run up court first, and set up. That has been working for these guys since Stockton/Malone for hte last 20 years.

    But Nelson is so proud and egotistical, that he thinks it;s his way or the highway. He really believes that scoring the most points in the league while sacrificing defense is the way to win Championships.

    But this team is not Magic’s Lakers. That was the only team in the history of the world that could win playing fast break uptempo basketball, that’s it nobody else.

    Not Phoenix in the days of Nash, Marion and Stoudemire, not Sacrmaneto with Bibby, Webber, Turkoglu era, not Jason Kidd, Jefferson, Kenyon Martin era, none of these uptempo teams could win a Championship.

    The Champions in the last decade have always played a slower, half-court and more definite offesive scheme.

    The Lakers from 2000-2003 during the 3 peat played the triangle offense: slow, boring and methodical, but it got them 3 rings.

    The 4 Championships for the Spurs, slow, half-court. The Bulls Run in the 90′s was a triangle half-court offense. The Bad Boy Pistons as well as the Larry Brown Pistons both played a similar half-court style.

    Hakeem’s Rockets half-court.

    I like the uptempo game more, not to say that I like the half-court style of play, but it seems to give teams more success in today’s NBA!

  • Tony M