Finally got a chance to do a little transcribing from the Tweedia Day interviews I pulled, after I had to catch up on work stuff (since I missed work on Monday to go to the event), and BASG got overrun by Giants pennant race fever and 49ers silliness.
One of the cool things about Warriors media day was how much access us newcomers were allowed to gain. When I heard “group interviews,” I figured I’d be left to pick up whatever scraps that didn’t go to Matt Steinmetz, Marcus Thompson II and Rusty Simmons. But that was hardly the case. The experienced guys got their quotes and moved on, leaving us wide-eyed kids (and I’m using the term “kids” loosely) to dive in and ask whatever we wanted. Except when it came to Stephen Curry and Jeremy Lin, who were surrounded by reporters the entire time.
Here’s the conversation I was able to have with Monta Ellis for a few minutes, along with a couple other Tweedia guys. Subjects include his workload, trick shots, what Black Mamba thinks about him and more. Oh, and did you know he just wants to play basketball? Because he does. Read on…
BASG: You played a lot of minutes last year, averaged over 41. Do you mind playing that many this year or do you want to maybe keep it under 40?
Monta: I just want to play basketball. Don’t matter. I can play 35, 40, 45, don’t matter. I just want to play basketball.
BASG: Has coach Smart talked to you about that at all?
Monta: (shakes his head no)
BASG: How about the focus on defense, that was talked about a lot today. Is that something that coach Smart reached out to all you guys and talked about before this press conference?
Monta: He really emphasized that last year. It didn’t work to our advantage because we didn’t have the players with that defensive caliber of game, but that’s always been his mindset is defense and we’ve been trying to work on it. I feel the team we have now is a great defensive mindset team.
BASG: Do you still want to have the same emphasis on steals, or is that going to change a little this year with a little more help inside?
Monta: Who, me? Nah, my game is gonna stay the same. My game ain’t gonna change at all. Continue to be Monta Ellis.
Daniel Turman (Fear The Beard): I asked this over at Stephen Curry’s table. I didn’t realize you had gotten married and (Curry) attended your wedding. Do you feel like you come into this season with a little added maturity, and ready to sort of look at the rebirth of the Warriors in a different way? What transformation have you gone through during the off-season?
Monta: Nothing really besides getting married. That’s it. All the other stuff, I think about that way, long before I got married. Coming into camp early, trying to make a change and like I said, a new beginning. So to me, it’s the same.
Shaun Tai: So if the “We Believe” is kind of like, past now, what do you think the future is? How would you phrase it? Sum it up.
Monta: (Pauses, then exhales while making a raspberry sound with his lips) Wait and see. That’s all I can come up with.
BASG: You were money with the backwards baseline shot from the seats last year. You got another one coming up before games this year? Any other tricks?
Monta: I don’t know. (Laughs) We’ll see. I don’t know right now. I might try a couple shots in practice and you know, see what happens.
BASG: A little 3/4 court action? Half-court?
Monta: Could be, could be half-court. Gonna have to wait and see.
BASG: I noticed that Kobe Bryant seems to have a big interest in your game, he’s given you a lot of public praise. Do you have a relationship with him, do you guys talk during the off-season? Why do you think he’s taken such a liking to your game?
Monta: Because he understands the game. He knows how to evaluate guys. Like, I never talked to him off the court. That’s the only thing I can really say about it — he just loves the game of basketball and he just gives credit where credit’s due.
BASG: It seems like he respects guys who step up to him and don’t show any fear. Do you think that’s had anything to do with it? People that attack him and don’t idolize him?
Monta: It could be. It could be. At the same time, you know, he Kobe Bryant. But when we’re on the court together, I don’t look at it that way, I just go out and play basketball.