Golden State Warriors

Should Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry switch roles?

Monta Ellis scored 4 points on Wednesday. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 101-93. The last time Ellis scored that few points was back when he scored half that many on 1-for-9 shooting against the Utah Jazz. The Warriors won that game too, 96-81.

Stephen Curry makes the prettiest passes on the team, and he made several standout full court and behind-the-back passes against Portland. However, it was Monta Ellis that led the team in assists with 12. Curry’s playmaking ability seems to come in the form of keeping things moving, even while he’s the dominant scorer. When Ellis starts to fill it up, he becomes isolated.

Curry scored a season high 32 that just as well could’ve been 37. Curry missed two breakaway layups and a technical foul shot, and STILL finished 12-for-19. He was 6-for-8 from behind the 3-point line too, and as I rode home on BART I had trouble remembering any of those threes touching rim.

That’s the kind of wizardry he displayed at Davidson. Shots raining from every spot in the gym, with just enough fancy passing to make one contemplate the unknown, positionally.

Is it time for the mismatched guard tandem to swap roles? To give up the Curry-as-Nash pipe dream and make Ellis the primary distributor instead? Against the Blazers the Warriors came through with a season-high 33 assists as a team. Ellis made only 2-of-9 shots, but racked up 12 assists with only 2 turnovers. Curry only turned the ball over once … two nights after the Warriors’ starting backcourt combined for 12 turnovers in Monday’s loss to the Grizzlies.

Mark Jackson reiterated what has been proven over 392 games as he brushed aside the notion that Ellis is a point guard, saying that “Monta’s a scorer.” Not surprising analysis, considering it’s impossible to imagine a scenario where Ellis would cede the role of leading scorer to Curry.

Who knows if calling Monta a “1” and Curry a “2” would change things in terms of wins and losses anyway — a win over Portland is nice, but the Blazers were playing their third game in three nights.

But hold on. Jackson also mentioned that Ellis is a “playmaker,” noting how Ellis has the most assists of any shooting guard in the league. 7.2 assists per game for Monta this year, while playing 38 mpg. Last year Ellis played 40 mpg and averaged 5.6 assists, a career high.

Curry averaged 5.8 assists per game in 2010-11. In the eight games Curry’s played this season, Ellis has 8.1 apg (Curry so far this season: 5.4 apg).

Curry seemed to be having more fun against Portland than anytime in a while. He looked like the type of player one might hesitate to trade for a rental of Chris Paul, even. He’s also a very efficient shooter, and a player who’s prone to stylistic play and careless decision-making. If Ellis is moving the ball more, it’s a given the Warriors will move the ball more as a team because it comes so naturally for Curry.

Maybe Monta should be the Warriors’ point guard. Or maybe the Warriors just need to find a point guard.

Postgame Curry Videos

Didn’t see Monta after the game, but Curry sat with both ankles in a huge bucket of ice in front of his locker, answering questions.

Curry talked about the need for the Warriors, and Curry and Ellis in particular, to “be versatile,” and then laughs off his trouble with breakaway layups, saying, “I don’t think my wheels are pumped up all the way like they should be … I just don’t know what foot to take off of.”


Curry also had some comments about the offense not being as “stagnant” as it’s been in recent games, when the ball tended to stay on one side of the floor. Wonder what he was referring to there…
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