By: Abe Chong
ESPN The Mag writer Chris Palmer posted “Who’s better: Ellis or Westbrook” today for ESPN Insiders. Here’s some of the other “Who’s Better” articles that have been posted recently: Pau Gasol vs. Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant vs. Lebron James, Derrick Rose vs. Dwyane Wade, Rondo vs. D-Will, etc. So yeah, I was pretty excited(surprised) to see Monta put up there with some of the greats. Suck it, Hollinger.
No, I’m not going to be a total homer and say that Monta is miles better than Westbrook. I know what time it is — and it ain’t nut-hugging time. Chris Palmer surmises in the article that Westbrook is better anyway, and I agree. Westy is an uber-athletic point guard that’s averaging 22 points and 8.4 dimes a game. He’s much more built than Ellis is. If arms are the equivalent of male cleavage like my female friends keep insisting, Monta probably has double-A cups, and Westbrook is probably more like big B’s. Lastly, he’s just as fast and he’s a good size for the point guard position. Monta is small for the 2.
Under the ‘Intangibles’ section in the article, his listed innate ability is leadership. Russell is “…popular, well-liked…careful not to offend…the heart of their great chemistry…” Just like Captain America! He makes a very conscious effort to feed others and it shows. Just like Jesus!
Ellis’ listed intangible is “scoring tricks.” And Warriors fans know exactly what that means. Ellis scores in more ways than I can count. He contorts his body in mid-air to make crazy layups. He stops on a dime and swishes sweet midrange jumpers. He can take off and throw it down. All that jazz and more. But sorry, I’ll take leadership over scoring tricks any time.
It is, however, a moral victory that this was even debated in the first place. And the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. There just aren’t that many players in the league that can dominate offensively like Ellis can. Hollinger can have his PER, I’ll take what I witness. I’ve seen Monta take over plenty of games in the blink of an eye. I watched Monta go shot-for-shot against Kobe Bryant and other superstars with the game on the line and hold his own.
So what if Monta wasn’t an All-Star this season and Westbrook was? For first year All-Stars, it’s more recognition than anything. Check out this excerpt from an interview with first-year All-Star Kevin Love, courtesy of The Post Game:
Love: The funniest thing to me was (West coach Gregg) Popovich was like (at practice), “All right, everyone, bring it in.” He said, “Everyone is going to get a lot of playing time. Everyone is going to have a great time out there. But Blake (Griffin), Russell (Westbrook) and Kevin, you guys are all (expletive). You guys are first timers. You guys are screwed. You got one star on the back of your jersey. You’ll be lucky to get a couple minutes.” He was funny. Everyone was asking about that. He said, “I’m just (expletive) with you guys.” But he was serious.
If anything, Ellis just missed the opportunity to play about four minutes in a pretend game. All good, there’s always next year.
So yeah, even though I was surprised to see Ellis included in these debates, I’m totally convinced now that he belongs. Maybe the question that we as Warriors fans should be asking ourselves is: Who’s better: Ellis or Curry?
That’s a whole other debate right there.