Thursday, March 12, 2009

Warriors Beat Nets in Oracle, Ellis Back in Action

The Warriors overcame a 14 point halftime deficit to beat the Nets at Oracle. Monta Ellis was the only Warriors player to get it going early on, scoring 10 points in the first quarter. Monta's speed gave Devin Harris problems, as his defensive effort led to some fast breaks. Jamal Cawford finished the game nicely, contributing some jumpers and key free throws (7-7) to seal the game, but he still went 5-15 and beaten on defense. Jamal is a quality player, but I'd like to see Anthony Morrow get more minutes. Both can shoot, but Morrow rebounds and plays with higher energy. Stephen Jackson continues to delight fantasy hoop owners scoring 29 along with 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

There seems to be some kind of doubt in the world of sports talk radio in Warriors Nation about whether Ellis is capable of running the point. If you expect a Jason Kidd, Marc Jackson, John Stockton type; then no, Ellis is not going to give you more assists than points on a regular basis. Like Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett mentioned during the broadcast, which I was delighted to get via NBA TV, Ellis is more like a healthy Gilbert Arenas (minus the three point range). When he beats the primary defender off the dribble, he has the option to score or pass depending on the position of the help defender. Last night against the Nets, Monta had 19 points and 6 assists. His quick passes around the basket surprised his team mates on few drives, but his vision and quickness were impressive. When asked to compare Ellis to another NBA player, I can't choose just one. He has good shot selection like Rip Hamilton to shoot a high FG% for a guard, he wants to push the ball in transition like Steve Nash, he's a score first point guard like Arenas, but loves to dump off passes when he draws defenders.

I concede that Ellis has not earned the respect of the players mentioned above. By missing so much of the season, he squandered a year of quality development and lost partial trust of Warriors fans. In the remaining 18 games this season, Ellis will remind everyone why he was signed for 6 years $66 million. Ellis is nowhere near as good as he is going to be. I expect Monta to have a strong off-season, get stronger, develop his three point shot, and establish himself alongside Captain Jack as a leader on this team. I hope people tell Monta Ellis he will not be the same after his ankle injury, not be able to run the point, and not be worth his big contract. Ellis has been doing what people say "he can't" since high school. Before his career is over, Ellis will create a new mold for the guard position.

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