Monta Ellis left last night’s loss to the Spurs early in overtime after spraining his left ankle (yep, the bad one). According to the San Francisco Chronicle Ellis should be fine, but the Warriors…um…yeah…
It only took four games for Don Nelson to decide that the great Monta Ellis Point Guard Experiment was no longer worth testing. Most NBA observers probably saw this coming, but far more discouraging has been both Monta’s performance and health since returning from his moped accident, which shockingly wasn’t recorded on a cell phone camera.
(Does anybody else wish there was footage of Monta crashing into a curb with a 40 in his hand, or into the back of a Buick Regal while admiring some guy’s pit bull tattoo? That wreck sabotaged the Warriors’ season, at the very least we should have gotten an amusing youtube clip from it, right?)
Ellis has already tweaked his surgically repaired ankle twice and banged his knee in six games, and while he’s shown glimpses of his old self Monta doesn’t seem to have the same burst he did before.
Now part of the reason for Nelson sliding Ellis back to the two-guard spot is Jamal Crawford. Crawford’s a player who likes to dominate the ball and darn it, Nellie won’t get in his way. The Warriors are stuck with Crawford and Ellis next season as well, meaning the Warriors’ ship will continue to be led by combo guards who neither pass the ball nor defend all that well.
That can be overlooked if Crawford and Ellis create mismatches offensively, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon. Here are Monta’s averages so far: 13.2 PPG, 4.2 REB, 2.7 AST, 1.2 STL, 2.7 TO, 31 MPG. Nobody expected Ellis to come back at an All-Star level this soon after returning from invasive surgery, but so far Ellis has been just another heavily tattooed, mediocre combo-guard who gives the Warriors one more of what they already have: flawed perimeter players who can’t/won’t pass.
Record: 1-3 (L 93-117 @ DAL; W 91-87 @ NO; L 93-110 @ HOU; L 105-110 vs. SAN)
What a strange game last night turned out to be, as Andris Biedrins was shelved for most of the second half and overtime, only playing 22 minutes. Ronny Turiaf only played 22 minutes himself (most in the second half and overtime), grabbing 7 rebounds and blocking 4 shots…Turiaf looked as good as he has all year against the Spurs, even though he got absolutely screwed at the end of regulation on Manu Ginobili’s flop…Stephen Jackson thought he was equally jobbed on the next play, but Bruce Bowen didn’t foul Jack on that airball, which ended perhaps the worst 8 seconds we can remember since that rodeo movie starring Luke Perry…It only took three games for Don Nelson to decide Monta won’t be a point guard this year, which means he probably never will be…From Geoff Lepper’s 48minutes.net after last night’s loss: “I’m shocked, shocked: Maggette rolls down the lane for the uncontested dunk at the end of the game. I don’t think the Warriors have had a guy who stat mongers as blatantly as he does since Troy Murphy left town.“…The Warriors played a large portion of the second half against the Spurs with a lineup of Monta/Crawford/C.J Watson/Stephen Jackson/Maggette. The bad news is that lineup couldn’t grab rebounds against a junior high team. The good news is more games like this could lead Maggette to get center-eligibility in my fantasy league. Hey, in fantasy we LIKE stat mongers!
Good point by ESPN’s Marc Stein, who noticed that in both of the Warriors’ best wins of the season (99-89 at home against Boston and their recent win at New Orleans) were both low scoring affairs…I’ll admit I was wrong about Anthony Morrow deserving a spot in the Rookie/Sophomore Game during All-Star Weekend, since he didn’t play last night and only scored 14 points on 6-of-18 shooting in his three previous games…Marco Belinelli and Brandan Wright are still a ways from coming back (and playing 11 minutes per game, if they’re lucky)…Anthony Randolph’s uncle Tony Randolph fired his agent, none other than B.J. Armstrong. According to Will Warsaw (Randolph’s uncle), “Our message wasn’t getting across, so we’re interviewing agents. … We wanted somebody who could be very, very aggressive.” Sounds like Randolph wants to be traded, and immediately…Nellie’s response to Randolph and his family’s desire for action? Randolph receive a DNP-Coach’s decision last night, he played 6 minutes in the loss at Houston, and didn’t play in the win over the Hornets. I know this sounds like something Tim Kawakami would say, but I can’t see Randolph on the Warriors next season if Nellie’s still around…To be fair to Nellie, it’s not a good sign for Randolph that his uncle is popping off to Janny Hu.