Curry crumpled over that ankle again, this time in a loss to the Spurs. The Warriors had been looking well, Monta and Steph were sharing an awesome, ephemeral moment of  complimentary play. But an ankle doesn’t care if usage rates coalesce into beautiful functionality like two coiling DNA strands. If an ankle wants to buckle, you’re going down.

Sportscaster Larry Beil gave the proper immediate context for last night’s Curry tumble: “This is now officially a crisis!” Simply true. In so far as a lotto team can have a crisis, this one may be more fraught than the volcano erupting in Sacramento.

The Warriors always favored Stephen Curry over Monta Ellis, at least in the Lacob era. When it came time to trade one for Chris Paul, Monta was offered and Steph was swiftly swept under those mother hen feathers. When Monta Ellis got ensnared in a sexual harassment suit, GSW might as well have hung an “Exit” sign above his locker.

It was over, the Warriors were Curry’s team. Monta Ellis would not survive this trade deadline like he had all the others. It was only a matter of time…until the cement reality from a few weeks ago completely melted. Measures designed to fix Curry’s chronic ankle injury have bounced off those headstrong tendons. If surgery can’t fix it, if Nike can’t fix it, if rest can’t tame it…then what is it? It would be death to parity if any player were as unstoppable as Curry’s ankle malady. Stephen is on his third sprain of the year, and the opener was last week.

There is also the matter of how Curry played in those first few games. Perhaps the ankle is to blame, but his decision-making advertised last year’s passing lapses. Specifically, Curry kept getting trapped off screen and rolls, sometimes holding the ball until hacking it up. Often Curry would keep possession, but he’d force David Lee to arrive as a rescuer. The sequence meant that Lee received a pass well above the three point line with the shot clock shrieking. These were ugly, doubt-stoking plays.

In contrast, Monta Ellis has looked oddly fantastic as a distributor. While Curry relies on pocket passes in pick and roll situations, Monta gets his assists in fast forward. He’s been getting a lot of them lately, to the tune of an 8.2 average over these opening games. Ellis flies through defenses like an untied balloon, calmly dumping the ball to an open man at the very last millisecond. Monta, the mid-air point guard, dropping vertical passes like so many Zeus lightening bolts. This can’t be sustainable. It feels so right.

Weeks ago, the Warriors wouldn’t trade Stephen Curry for one year of Chris Paul. Today, Curry’s career appears profoundly threatened. Today, Monta appears the keeper. And the Warriors keep soldiering forward with the mismatched pair.

4 Responses

  1. Bobby G

    Can’t argue the facts people.

    Steph was playing great in both the Bulls game, but I don’t think you can say he won it for us. He helped.

    He was playing great in the SA game too. But we didn’t win that one.

    Monta beat the Knicks without Steph Curry. Sure the Knicks are struggling, but they are a talented team. Steph couldn’t beat the Sixers by himself. Just saying.

    If Steph was healthy all the time, he’d be worth all the praise. People like to say “yeah but when he’s healthy…” but you have to consider a player’s worth with injury risk factored in. Steph is clearly so prone to injury that his value is dropping. ESS is just making the point that Monta’s lack of injury risk + his ability may now be worth more than Steph’s scary injury risk + his ability. That’s all.

  2. Mugsy.Bogues.Us

    Way to use a tragedy in a promising young player’s career to bring up your tireless monta v. steph debate, classy. What you call unsustainable amount of assists I would say Monta is… improving. I know a player improving is totally out of your myopic scope of comprehension but monta played of his best games and in harmony with steph curry and then he carried his team through the rest of the game. Both steph and monta play with a enormous amount of heart and we witnessed some of the great things they can do together. Newsflash they’re both good , play amazing ball together, could be great but curry needs to save his ankle,his career, his ability to walk

  3. tupark

    are you joking dude? you apparently haven’t seen curry play much if that’s what you think of his passing ability based on what? maybe like 2 out of 50 plays? david lee gets a countless number of open shots throughout the game because of curry’s passing. lee for some reason either pump fakes while no one is anywhere near him, or does what he wants to do w/ the open space curry creates for him. i mean seriously, did you not see the ridiculous performance he put on against the bulls and even last night? and then you use that to somehow make it seem like ellis is the more sound passer of the 2? lol… ridiculous.

  4. eshock

    Or, ESS, you’re eating crow. You have been on the wrong side of the debate from the beginning. You’ve alienated many Dubs fans with your writing and insights. You just don’t a baller from a crawler. Time to gain back some credibility, methinks.