Scary good

The lesson learned: Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry can co-exist, so long as they don’t overlap. Steph needs to play above the arc, as Monta swings around high screens. Let Curry handle the ball, let Ellis pop 20-footers off-the-pick like a near-sighted Reggie Miller.

Recently, I garnished my lunch with a sprinkling of the NBA Today Podcast. Hollinger and Russillo agreed that Monta Ellis was the “league’s most overrated player.” My brain begged no retort–last year’s Ellis was actually worse than nothing. As in: He dominated the ball, didn’t dominate games and frequently got dominated by the barely tall. His 48 minute death slogs were merely exercises in exercise.

But, there may be an attribution for how a man gets overrated. Apart from Monta’s scoring–a prime factor in hype inflation–people can see Ellis’s talent. Fans watch him knife through the belly of a napping defense, and they subconsciously recognize the efficiency potential.

I would be inclined to buy that No. 8 is inherently flawed, were it not for the good years. Before Baron’s departure, Monta was a devastating weapon from the wing. Davis would splice the defense, pass out to Ellis, who would…I was about to say “who would then blur past the collapsed defense,” but there really was no then, then. Once the pass reached Monta’s hands, a finger roll instantaneously materialized–faster than it takes a falling sweat bead to smack the floor.

Monta's flirtation with decency

Without a point, the Warriors were without these opportunities. Compounding the problem, Ellis was forced into the role of kicking to guards who should have been Monta Ellis. It was like watching an intestine leave the body in a misguided effort to feed the hands.

Much has been made of Stephen Curry’s low Assist/Turnover ratio. While this is an issue, it’s important to make the distinction between Monta’s 1.4 A-T ratio and Stephen’s 1.9 A-T. Curry makes mistakes while surveying the whole floor. Ellis only botches within the old Madden 06’ triangle passing cone. On the surface, this should not matter. When Steph throws a one hand pass to the seats, it kills a possession just like a thwarted Monta spin does. But the key difference is that Curry’s style can sustain an offense during the mistake-free possessions. Ellis’s PG flavor of rock-domination deflates an offense’s rhythm and ability to surprise a defense.

With Steph on the arc, Monta’s tunnel vision becomes almost an advantage. Once two-guard-Ellis catches the pass it’s:

A) Shoot the open mid-range jumper.
B) Blaze past the closing defender.

Ellis family shot chart

Simplicity can set you free to the tune of 46 points, 18-24. Or, you could go the Kevin Martin route and take acting classes.

@SherwoodStrauss / [email protected]

6 Responses

  1. don

    There is no way in the world that Monta Ellis is the NBA’s most overrated player. I mean, what exactly does Hollinger & Russilo expect from the guy?

    To leap tall buildings in a single bound?

    The kid puts the ball in the hoop.

  2. WBFree

    Great article. I almost wrote Rusillo to argue that this is the sterling case for misguided stat hyperextension, but your analysis is much more nuanced and in the end more positive. Seriously though, Monta was a star player who led the league in minutes played on a bad team that had as few as four eligible players on the roster. His +/- is obviously going to suck, because in the few games when it is going well for the team, the coach is going to bench him and let the D-leaguers roll up the “pluses” in garbage time. Monta is a formula one car. Does he need to be converted into a rally car? No. Are formula one cars overrated? On dirt tracks, yes.

  3. bubrubnubsdadubs

    Well said on Kevin Martin. We came to see basketball, not crash test dummies – interpretive dance. Glad the refs FINALLY caught on late in the fourth quarter.

  4. Andrew

    Yeah I wonder what Hollinger and the boys will say now that Monta has two players he can play off of again and an actual NBA offense to work out of.

  5. WarriorsGo

    My favorite part of this article is that last sentence.

    Simplicity can set you free to the tune of 46 points, 18-24. Or, you could go the “Kevin Martin route and take acting classes”.