Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ellis Expendable?

With Anthony Morrow becoming a literal focal point of the Warriors offense, Stephen Jackson getting a $28 million extension solidifying him as the unquestioned leader of the team, and Andris Biedrins playing like the team’s best player, Monta Ellis suddenly seems, I don’t know, expendable. Sure, he’s a tremendous talent, and he put up crazy numbers last year. But he can’t shoot the three very well (and, due to his injury, didn’t get to work on it this past offseason) and is an undersized, combo guard who’s not the best distributor. His strengths lie in getting into the paint and getting high percentage shots…but, that’s what Corey Maggette does, and the Warriors just gave him a fat contract too.

Look, I’m not saying that Ellis couldn’t make this team elite plugging him into the point guard spot. All I’m saying is that a shiny new $66 million contract is supposed to symbolize a commitment to a player. It demands that he be a leader. Kid already failed in that department, even lied about how it happened instead of manning up and admitting his mistake. That’s something Vladimir “Space Cadet” Radmanovic does, not your supposed team captain.

So Captain Jack has retained those reigns, and is set to retain them for the next three seasons. Now, you’ve got this Morrow kid who can shoot the lights out and plays the exact same position as Ellis. Seems to me that the Warriors would be better off looking for ways to get out of Ellis’ contract and looking to get a true point guard. Maybe offer some bucko bucks to a guy like Ramon Sessions or Raymond Felton next year. They could even go after Allen Iverson or Lamar Odom. Al Harrington’s $9.5 million comes off the books next season (unless they trade him) and knocking off Ellis’ contract would make them major players in the free agent market.

Of course, you can slice it both ways. Because of how great Ellis was last year, and due to his youth, athletic ability and work ethic, there are plenty of reasons to believe he’ll continue to get better and when added to the other blossoming players take this team to another level when fully healthy. On the flipside of that, is the fact that he is an undersized combo guard who relies on his freakish athleticism—his lighting quickness and his incredible leaping ability. Dude injured his ankle. Because he has no outside shot, his whole game is predicated on his legs.

As weird as this sounds, the Warriors might be better off without Ellis.

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