The second returns on All-Star voting came out today. It featured good news for Monta Ellis’ chances at being added on as a reserve.
Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are the top two vote-getters among guards. Before it was Kobe and Tracy McGrady, which was bad news for Ellis. If Nash, who is some 5,000 votes ahead of McGrady, gets to start, that’s a reserve spot open for Ellis. If McGrady — who just recently made his season debut — is voted in, then Nash is a lock to get on as a reserve and that is one less spot for Ellis.
The coaches can pick four guards maximum. They must choose two guards, then they have two wild card spots they could select. But considering the depth at forward — Carmelo and Dirk are the top two thus far, which leaves Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Trevor Ariza, Rudy Gay and Carlos Boozer vying for reserve spots — it is unlikely both wild card spots will go to guards. So, at best, Ellis would be vying for three reserve spots.
If Kobe and Nash start, Ellis certainly stacks up against any other options. He’s playing better, individually, than Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Brandon Roy. Of course, all those players are from teams that are substantially better than the Warriors.
Here is what amazes me, always, about All-Star voting for Warriors fans. As loyal and supportive as this area is for this franchise, Warriors fans simply don’t vote for Warriors players. Ellis, despite the career year he’s having, isn’t even top 11 in voting. Ginobili is 11th with 171,624 votes. Aaron Brooks and Jason Terry are sixth and seventh, respectively, and you know the only people voting for them are fans of their team.
Do Warriors fans just not vote, or do they vote for Kobe and Nash instead?
Nellie left Curry on Chris Paul down the stretch instead of putting Ellis, a better defender on Paul. The result was Paul nailed two clutch shots over Ellis, the latter icing the game. Nelson said after playing Ellis for 48 minutes and asking him to carry the load, having him defend Paul with the game on the line was too much to ask.
NELLIE: “The guy played 48 minutes. That’s asking quite a lot. I really thought we played (Paul) well. We got away from him two straight plays that really hurt us. But other than that, we played him pretty well I think. I thought Steph did a really good job on him.”
Curry had done a fairly good job on Paul, especially considering he’s struggled on D this season. Paul didn’t shoot the ball well and he wasn’t picking apart the Warriors defense by creating for others. For the most part, Curry stuck right with him. That free’d up Ellis to match up against Devin Brown, much less of a challenge defensively, which certainly helped Ellis’ incredible offensive efficiency on Wednesday (35 points on 25 shots).
Even on the last shot, Curry got a hand in his face, which is about all you can ask from him. Paul did hit a turnaround fade-away, which is a tough shot.
CURRY: “I had to respect his speed, so I backed off a little bit and felt like my length could disrupt the shot. He decided to do a turnaround, and, in that spot on the floor, that’s the shot you want him to take.”
Some Warriors fans aren’t too fond of Stephen Curry. But Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love doesn’t share their regard for the rookie guard. He told Dan Patrick that he wanted the T’wolves to draft Curry.
LOVE: “I will tell you why that (would have been) a good pick, too. We are toward the last spot in three-point percentage in the league, and he would have just been great in the triangle. He would have been dynamite coming off screens and shooting that three ball. I love his game.”
Minny shoots 28.9 percent from 3. Curry is at 38.9 percent.
A story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal on Wednesday referred to discussions between the Warriors and Grizzlies involving Monta Ellis. These discussions were a while ago, as the report said. Back when that stuff about Ellis’ agent meeting with the Warriors, I was told the Warriors were definitely listening in regards to Ellis. A lot has changed since then. Now, Ellis, I’m told, is about as untouchable as a player can be.
Randolph gets eight blocks, six in the first quarter. But Nellie harped on his offense. Randolph was 5-for-14.
NELLIE: “I thought his effort was good. I wish he could’ve made a few more shots, because he certainly had a lot of them. I don’t know why he was hesitant. … Certainly nothing that we tell him. It makes it more complicated situation than it is. It’s pretty simple. When you’re open, shoot. When you’re not, drive. But, anyway, he’s still 20 years old.”