It's that time Warrior fans, Monta Ellis' suspension is about to expire (on December 17th) and the talk of him getting ready to join the Warriors is starting to buzz around Bay Area sports shows, newspapers and Internet sites alike. He's started practicing with the team, though not at full speed yet, but the Warriors expect that to start happening this week with the possibility in mind that he may be game-ready (in some capacity) for their December 26th tilt vs. the Celtics at the Oracle. While I would love to see Monta back just as much as the next guy, I would really be extra cautious with him as there is no reason at this point to rush him back. The team, although they've won their last two, isn't going to the playoffs this season, baring some miracle surge in the second half. There are just too many holes in their front line and they are in an unforgiving conference, as far as dominant front-lines are concerned. Maybe they could turn one of their athletic hybrid guards (Azuinuike, Morrow, Belinelli?) into a tough interior rebounder and someone who can maybe score in the paint before the deadline to help give them a boost. Not sure what it would take for the W's to acquire a guy like Dallas' Brandon Bass, but that is exactly the type of player they need as they haven't gotten it in Ronny Turiaf. They don't need a household name, just a gritty player who can play 25 minutes a night, bang the boards and wreck havoc on both the offensive and defensive end of the floor.
Speaking of a big rebounder an scorer, although he's not the ideal defender, why didn't Mulling get Zach Randolp instead of Jamal Crawford. I'd much rather have seen the Warriors try and trade Harrington for Randolph than Crawford, even if it meant having to part with another player or maybe a pick. I just still don't see why Mullin added another player like Crawford. Too bad it wasn't something like Harrington and Belinelli for Randolph instead of Harrington for Crawford? Imagine a 4-5 of Z. Randolph and Biedrins. And then eventually a starting lineup of Ellis-Jackson-Maggette-Randolph-Biedrins, with K-AZZ, Morrow, C.J., Turiaf and Wright coming off the bench while allowing Anthony Randolph to go play big minutes and develop some more in the NBA-DL for a few months. Now that could have been a team that could have made some noise.
Anyway, enough of woulda-coudla-shoulda trading theory and back to my main point; my message to the Warriors' management. My message would be to take it easy with Monta. No use rushing back your franchise guard at a point when your squad is 10 games below .500. Look at what happen to Gilbert Arenas last season after he came back too soon from his leg injury. It's ended up costing him more lost time in the long run. I'd hate to see Monta come back a little to early, re-injure himself and have it linger into the '09-10 season. Now if Monta is %100, no limitation or questions about it, and ready to rock in a couple of weeks, by all means, let him loose. But if there is any doubt whatsoever with his ankle, leg or knee, even if it's the slightest question mark, I see no reason in rushing him back. The "Nice Guys" have too much invested in the kid and cannot afford to have this injury limit him or linger on once he does return.