Monta Ellis – Stay or Go?

The Warriors are going to take inventory this offseason, see what moves they need to make and how they can get better. Over the next few weeks, we are going to do some evaluating ourselves. Here is your chance to give them your opinion (yes, they do read this blog). I will make the best case I can as to why a player should stay or go this offseason. Then you sound off. He’s the hot topic right now so …

Thanks due to Tony.psd for the hot graphic


When the Warriors drafted Ellis with the No. 40 pick in the 2005 NBA draft, it no doubt was a special coup. Ellis is a superior athletic with a knack for scoring and a built-in swagger. If he goes, he could join Gilbert Arenas as the best Warrior to get away. Let’s not forget, last year, in his third season, Ellis averaged 20.2 points on 53.1 percent shooting. He played 81 games and averaged 31 minutes. Also, 5.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists ain’t bad either. That kind of production is hard to part with, especially for someone so young.
What’s more, Ellis’ development in those three years leads you to believe he is going to get even better. When he first came in, he couldn’t go left, all he could do consistently was get to the basket. Now he’s got a mid-range jumper, he knows how to get to the line, and his ability to make a play for others has improved (though still has a ways to go).
Not to mention, the Warriors need some kind of stability. Since J-Rich and Baron left, there hasn’t been an identifiable figure for the Warriors. Sure, fans love Jax. But he’s been around the league. He’s only been here for two years and two months and he’s winding down his career. Monta, with Anthony Randolph, could be the man in the Bay for years to come.

Since Nellie ball is the system the Warriors are employing, the question of what position Ellis plays is of the utmost importance. Nellie’s system needs a do-it-all point guard, and Monta is not that. Nellie’s system has no place for a high-scoring shooting guard (because the PG and the SF handles the ball the most), and Monta is that. So where does he fit? The answer is he doesn’t. That leaves the Warriors with four options:
* Conforming Nellie’s system. That means getting the right kind of point guard. That is going to be hard to find and bring in. Not only does it have to be a PG who can guard SGs, but they have to be decisively better at PG than Ellis, so much so there is no question who the PG is on the court.
* They would have to shuck Nellie’s system. They would have to give up on the small ball, mismatch-creating system runs and go with a system, where SG creates offense and they run plays for him and the others play off the SG (i.e., Houston, New Jersey, Lakers, Miami, etc). Monta would have to score a bunch to offset the mismatch of him guarding SGs.
* Monta develops into an OK point guard, not a true floor general but not a liability at PG. That would require Monta developing handles, court awareness, vision, a cerebral game, leadership skills, etc. Sounds like a lot of intangibles to grasp.
* Get rid of Ellis and get the kind of PG they need.
The latter of the four is the easiest, by far.
Ellis’ unhappiness is a factor. If the relationship is irreparable (between he and management, or between he and Nelson), moving him becomes a must. If Ellis gets to the point where he’s venting through the media, a la Al Harrington and Mickael Pietrus, that only lowers his trade value. It might behoove the Warriors to look at this thing from an objective lens and, if it can’t get better, get what they can for him before it gets worse.

Ellis, I imagine, still has value on the market, even though he’s due $55 million over five years once this season is complete. Certainly, his value would be higher if he spent the last 19 games looking like the old Monta Ellis, but I still think they can get something good for Ellis, even if it means throwing in the first-rounder. His ankle is a concern, but I think teams will see that he is so young and he came off a serious injury. Plus everyone’s medical staff thinks they are top of the line, so it is possible they will feel like they know how to get Ellis 100 percent.
He is movable. However, the risk of moving him is high. If he does go, five years from now, he could be one of the biggest regrets in Warriors history.

So, what do you think? Stay or go?

Cast your vote here.

Marcus Thompson