Although the Warriors season ended once again without a playoff appearance, one could still make the argument that it was a successful campaign as far as fan interest goes. Indeed, the Dubs averaged 18,692 fans per home game (10th best in the league) because they put a fun and entertaining squad out on the court every night.
Heck, fans of other teams began tuning in to watch the Warriors because of the high-octane offense and potential to see the team score north of 65 points in one half.
At the center of it all during the 2010-11 regular season, was the face of the franchise Monta Ellis. His scoring outbursts as well as his clutch play in some late games led to a yearlong ongoing debate: build around Steph Curry or Monta Ellis?
Our very own Ethan Sherwood Strauss was in favor of building around the former Davidson star given Ellis’ shortcomings on the defensive end as well as his ability to at times turn the playbook into the Monta Offense. In contrast, I thought that the backcourt had a chance to function, but that a strong commitment to the defensive side of the ball was in order for the union to work.
And yet, it seems that the front office has slowly begun to warm up to Mr. Strauss’ stance on the debate. Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times reported earlier this week that although the Dubs aren’t actively shopping Monta, they seem to view him as their biggest trade chip.
The end result is that between now and the NBA draft, we should probably warm up to the idea of Monta’s name being involved in multiple trade scenarios. Currently, the names being floated around involve Andre Iguodala, Luol Deng and just recently Rudy Gay.
Rudy Gay would be an excellent addition, however the Grizzlies probably view him as their guy. And considering that they are a playoff team, I would be hard pressed to see them swap him for Ellis.
Iguodala on the other hand does present an interesting set of skills (scoring, playmaking, rebounding and defending). And although Philadelphia made the playoffs last season, the city is not enamored with Iggy, which may well reflect what the 76ers franchise thinks of him as well at this point.
With that said, gauging Monta Ellis’ value is the way to go right now, however it’s important to be patient (which is what the Warriors are currently doing) and not just jump at the first deal that gets offered.
For all of his ball dominating ways, Monta was an integral part to whatever success the Dubs achieved last season and could still end up doing the same for the team next season should they decide to keep him on the roster.
Which begs the question: should Monta Ellis even be on the trading block? Or would the team be better off in exploring what they could obtain for David Lee or perhaps even the underachieving Andris Biedrins?
It would be a huge disservice to the team if Monta were traded without being able to answer those questions first. Consider that he was available for 80 games, played 40.3 minutes per game on his way to averaging 24.1 points and 5.6 assists per game on 45.1 percent field goal shooting; and well it’s clear that we are not talking about just an average talent.
Ellis was available for all but two games this past season and managed to log tons of court time for the Warriors. But then again, citing those facts does also make him an attractive player to other teams in the league and thus will lead to several inquiries about him.
The franchise might chose to stand pat or might decide to ship him away, but for lack of a better term, he played this past season like a Warrior.
Let’s hope that never gets lost in the shuffle.