In one of the most recent ESPN 5-on-5 pieces, five bloggers/writers were asked who the most overrated shooting guard in the NBA was. Three of the contributors to the piece selected Monta Ellis, citing him for his lack of efficiency and his volume shooting. Although that may be true, does it necessarily make Monta the most overrated off-guard in the league? Well some might beg to differ.

Monta Ellis is the primary option for the Golden State Warriors, on a team that last season was very trigger happy and lacked any kind of interior presence. Consequently, the Dubs routinely shot early in the shot clock and also fired away from 3-point territory with a lot of regularity.

The lack of interior help meant that teams designed their defenses to essentially load up on Ellis and cut off his driving angles thus relegating him to the perimeter. Granted, coach Smart often surrounded him with shooters in an effort to space the floor and give him driving angles but defenses typically closed off the angles and dared the Warriors to beat them from deep.

Knowing this, one would expect the Warriors star guard to have trouble creating scoring opportunities for himself. But that’s just it, he adjusted. In truth, his field goal percentage could have been better, but given the fact that he often got caught with the ball late in the shot clock and rarely got open looks, his marksmanship from the field is quite good. Also, let’s not forget that his diminutive frame (he is 6’3”), means that he should have trouble finishing at the basket around big men (think about it, Allen Iverson is considered to be the best finishing little man in the history of the league and his career field goal percentage is 42.5 percent), and yet he does a good job of converting from the field.

In addition to his scoring, the Golden State guard does a good job of creating scoring opportunities for others by attacking the basket and drawing most of the defensive attention.

With that said, Ellis is far from perfect as a player. He seems to view defense as an optional part of basketball, occasionally takes low percentage shots, makes bad decisions at times with the ball and has tendency to gamble for steals, which often leaves his teammates at a disadvantage. But do any of these make him overrated?

It would be tough at least from my standpoint to justify such a claim given his production and lack of accolades. No All-Star selection, no player of the week/months honors and no All-NBA selection last season. And yet, he compares favorably to other relatively big names that share his position. Have a look at the list (listed by PER):

Player PER PPG RPG APG SPG FG% 2011-12 Salary*
Dwyane Wade 26.3 25.5 6.4 4.6 1.5 .500 $15.50
Kobe Bryant 23.9 25.3 4.7 5.3 1.2 .451 $25.20
Manu Ginobili 21.7 17.4 3.7 4.9 1.5 .433 $12.90
Kevin Martin 21.4 23.5 3.2 2.5 1.0 .463 $12.00
Monta Ellis 18.6 24.1 3.5 5.6 2.1 .451 $11.00
Eric Gordon 18.5 22.3 2.9 4.4 1.3 .450 $3.80
Andre Igudoala 17.3 14.1 5.8 6.3 1.5 .445 $13.50
Joe Johnson 16.4 18.2 4.0 4.7 0.7 .443 $18.00
Ray Allen 16.4 16.5 3.4 2.7 1.0 .491 $10.00
Jason Terry 15.9 15.8 1.9 4.1 1.1 .451 $11.40
Brandon Roy 13.9 12.2 2.6 2.7 0.8 .400 $14.90

*Salaries obtained from Hoopshype.

Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant represent the gold standard of active NBA shooting guards and Monta Ellis’ numbers compares favorably to theirs. Mind you, his low rebound totals, turnovers and fewer free throw attempts result in him taking a hit in his PER when compared against both elite guards.

Nonetheless, his efficiency still outranks that of Eric Gordon, Andre Iguodala and Joe Johnson. Furthermore, his salary is similar to that of players with comparable talent. Ellis is clearly not on the same level as Kobe and Wade; but is it really blasphemous to say that comes in the second or third tier? I say no.

If there is one player that is truly not holding up his end of the bargain, and thus should qualify as overrated, it’s Joe Johnson. One day when commissioner duties will rest on my shoulders (so probably by the next NBA lockout in July 2021), a rule will be passed stating that a player’s salary cannot exceed his PER; specifically to avoid this kind of highway robbery (Kobe is exempt from this rule, because well he’s Kobe frikkin’ Bryant).

Monta Ellis is a shooting guard with a scorer’s mentality who has the ability to create shots for himself and his teammates, which occasionally allows him to take over ball games late. Look no further than his performances against the Pacers and the Kings last season for evidence.

Does that sound like a player that is overrated? Didn’t think so…

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at [email protected]. You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name @ShyneIV.

7 Responses

  1. rudy

    finally finally finally somebody sticking up for monta

    im sick and tired of how people are saying how overrated this guy is.iam a warrior fan so this may seem a little bias but if you watch this guy game in and game out he is one of the most talented and exciting players to watch in the NBA.who literally puts the team on his back every time he steps on the court. and hearing these rumors on how he’s is going to be traded is a whole thing of the NBA wanting to get this guy in a bigger market team and everyone will love him once the NBA has thier conspiracy done of getting him out of the bay.if anything he is one of the most underrated players coming out of highschool second round,on the warriors one of the unluckiest teams in the last 20 years besides that upset in the playoffs vs dallas,he logs in the most minutes out of anyone else in the nba,no other offensive threat on the team besides curry and wright.he has no choice to go off on these teams..

    MONTA IS A BEAST

  2. DeuelWarrior

    Monta is my boy all the way. He is a Warriors product, plucked from high school in the second round. Other then maybe Manu, all of those other guys are just fulfilling their selection spot… some of doing a little better( Kobe, Wade).

    Great he is not a lock down defender. I will tell you what he is, he is a competitor, he is craft on D(steals and changing peoples shots), and he is bad at riding mopeds. His lack of D (which in my eyes is not that big of a lack) is more then made up for on the offensive end when he blows by guys like they are a bunch of stiff out there spectating.

    Monta needs to just keep doing what he is doing, improving, believing in himself, and being a Warrior.

    PS: Hey NBA end this [email protected]! lockout so I can successfully watch my Dubs beat the LA Lakers on November the 2nd. K Thanks

  3. alex

    All five critiques of Monta in the ESPN article were written by Easy Coast nba beat writers and fans. ESPN has always showed no love to the warriors and at every chance they can, love to write articles about how Ellis is garbage and overrated. Doesn’t matter how many articles ESPN writes putting down his skills, Monta continues to improve every season and gives the middle finger right back at you ESPN.

  4. Steven Resnick

    Monta Ellis is not overrated and the argument of Ellis believes playing defense is optional tha was a joke right? Ellis is not by any stretch of the imagination a great defender, but he isn’t as horrible as you make him out to be.

    Suggest watching the highlights of his defense against Kobe Bryant, Brandon Roy and Joe Johnson. The problem with Ellis defensively is that he’s too aggressive at times and attempts for steals too many times which allows the offensive player to get around him .

    Last year Ellis shot 45.1 percent from the field and shot 36.1 percent from three which was the best of his career. Yes, Ellis has become a volume shooter as he is the primary option for the Warriors, but the problem is the Warriors have no interior presence offensively.

    David Lee is not much of a post player, Andris Biedrins has struggled, Ekpe Udoh might be the worst offensive player in the NBA.

    With that being said Ellis’ career shooting percentage is 47 percent. Yes, he has taken some bad shots but he is not as bad as from the field either. Ellis is viewed as the third best shooting guard in the NBA. He’s behind Wade and Bryant.

    Bryant no doubt is the most overrated player in the NBA. He’s not as good defensively as he’s made out to be, he takes terrible shots and his field goal percentage is not that great either.

  5. Cameron

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I have been saying that Monta’s numbers are skewed from pretty much the beginning of last season. The guy is hot ish; that’s why MANY teams are clamoring to get him. All this talk of him being less than DOPE AS F*CK are just a smokescreen to lure him away from the Warriors. No, he’s not a shutdown defender who is going to keep bigger guards out of the paint but he does what he does very well. Steals, deflections, etc…

    No, he’s not perfect but pretty damn good. His efficiency is down because the team had few reliable offensive options. Give the guy a break. Letting him go for less than the likes of D Wade, Kobe Bean or D Howard would actually be one of the worst personell transactions on a team with a history of horrendous player moves.

    • BacktotheBasketball

      Monta is very good but he is obviously not in the ranks of superstars like Wade or Kobe. I disagree with @Cameron’s statement that it would be foolish to trade Monta for anyone less than Wade, Kobe, or Dwight. As skilled as Monta is offensively, he isn’t on the same level as those guys. He is right there under them though.

      I think a trade for Iggy would be defensible. Both are still relatively young and talented. Iggy’s got much better size for a 2 and is no slouch offensively either. He’s also one of the best defenders in the league at his position(s). Iggy doesn’t have the shooting touch that Monta has, but you can’t get everything you want. Or perhaps Monta Ellis and David Lee (and Charlie Bell to make it work) for Josh Smith and Joe Johnson. Yes, I KNOW his contract is outrageous, but he is still a very talented point swingman and the length and athleticism the Warriors would have might be interesting. Idk, just thinking of defensive minded trades.

      The Warriors have no problem scoring. If they can boost that team defense up they should become a real powerhouse in the league.