Jax still wants out; Monta drops bomb

UPDATED: Warriors media day got really entertaining once Stephen Jackson took his seat, playfully calling the throng of media “vultures.” If you thought he was going to back off his statements about wanting to be traded, you were wrong.

Jackson stood by them, fairly emphatically, all but overtly questioning the Warriors desire to win. He cited the constant dismantling of the organization that upset Dallas as the primary reason for his discontent.
He didn’t say he wanted out again because he didn’t want to get slapped with another $25,000 fine from the NBA. But he did say he sticks by his earlier comments, his relationship with President Bobby Rowell has changed, and he stands by his statements because “he wants to win.”

Then Monta came out. He was usually dismissive and, thus, boring until he was asked if he could see himself and rookie guard Stephen Curry sharing the backcourt.

“I can’t.”

Why not?

“‘Cause I can’t.”

But why not? Too small?

“I just can’t. I can’t. Can’t win that way.”

Here is the not-from-my-memory-while-riding-home-and-blogging-from-my-phone version:

Can you see yourself playing with Curry in the backcourt?
I can’t answer that. Us together? No.
Why not?
Can’t. We just can’t.
Too small? Too similar?
Just can’t.
You know they (the Warriors) say you can, right?
(Do) they say we can? Yeah. They say we can. But we can’t.
You wouldn’t want to give it a shot?
I just want to win. That’s (pause) Not going to win that way.

Monta went on to say if coach Don Nelson – who has been saying all offseason he wants to play them together, is hoping to re-create the Ellis-Baron Davis tandem, it ain’t happening because, and I am summarizing here, Curry ain’t Baron. He doesn’t have Baron’s experience and size to make it a productive backcourt.

It’s different when you’re trying to compare me and Stephen, when you’re trying to go back to when me and BD were playing, it’s a different situation. You’ve got a nine-year veteran who’s been in the game, who understands the game, knows how to play the game, and he’s a big body. You can’t put two small guys out there and try to play the 1 and the 2 when you’ve got big 2 guards in the league. You just can’t do it. OK, yes, we’re going to move up and down fast, but eventually the game is going to slow down. You can’t do it.”

Curry said he could see the two playing together, but it depends on the matchups, intimating he believes there are circumstances the pairing wouldn’t work. But Nellie said Friday that as of right now, four of the starters are set: Jax, Ellis, Randolph, Biedrins. That leaves two most-likely
options: 1) start Curry in the backcourt with Monta; 2) start Azubuike and move Jax to SG, and let Curry back up Monta.

Nellie had said all along that Jackson and Ellis would be the backcourt. He backed off of that on Friday.

Do you look at Curry as a starter?
I don’t know that.
Who’s your starting point guard?
I don’t know that. It’ll all be determined as we go along.
Monta going to get a good look at that spot?
Oh Monta will be a starter.
At the point?
I don’t know that. What I do is we’re going to be very small in the backcourt this year. Our 1s and 2s are going to be small, so we’ll have to compensate defensively for some of those things. And do some scheming defensively to help cover that.
Morrow fits in that? He’s not too small.
Morrow’s 6-5. Not a big 2-guard.
You said last year in an ideal world you’d play Jackson at the 2.
We’re not going to do that any more because of my draft pick. So now we’re just going to be small there. That’s what we’ll be. Jack will be a 3.

Clearly, Nelson has at least hopes of Monta and Curry sharing the backcourt. And after once naming Monta the starter, he is now non-committal. But …

Option 1 is a major concession on the defensive end. Option 2 leaves Curry in a limited roll (as Monta figures to play a boatload of minutes), which is hardly what Nellie has been suggesting since drafting Curry. We also know now starting Curry won’t be a well-received strategy by the franchise player, which opens the door to more discontent.

What’s funny, Monta said he thought everyone was now on the same page. Nelson and Riley went to visit him in Memphis in June to accomplish that. And before camp starts, the coach
and the star player are already disagreeing on philosophy?

Here are the transcripts from today’s flammable interviews, courtesy of my man TK:

Monta Ellis interview

Stephen Jackson interview

Marcus Thompson