Saturday, June 4, 2011


It looks like the Golden State Warriors are just about ready to admit that a backcourt pairing of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis is not conducive to building a true championship contender. In a league were defense is equated to wins, and size is a prerequisite to lock-down defense, breaking up the duo is a necessary evil that should take place for the Warriors to have a better longterm outlook than fringe playoff hopefuls. It seems as if Curry has been tapped as the future of the franchise with his superior play-making abilities, proven offensive prowess, and wholesome, star qualities. Ellis star is just as bright, but as Ellis put it, "It just won't work."

Jerry West is now on board and he agrees that a parting of ways is what needs to happen. Ellis is an elite scorer which many teams will desire, but there are teams with existing pieces that would make better fits than others. Here are some of the criteria and rankings in each.

Teams that are anemic on the offensive end of the game should be among the most interested. To win games, you have to score points, and that is Ellis' specialty. His much improved 3 point shooting has made him nearly unguardable and his reputation of being a one-man fastbreak is much deserved. He finished the 2010/11 season as the 8th leading scorer at 24.1 ppg. For teams that need that kind of production from a player who can create and take his own shot, Ellis would be a fantastic addition.

1. Milwaukee Bucks : 91.9 ppg
2. Charlotte Bobcats : 93.3 ppg
3. New Jersey Nets : 94.2 ppg
4. New Orleans Hornets : 94.9 ppg
5. Atlanta Hawks : 95.0 ppg
6. Cleveland Cavaliers : 95.5 ppg

With Miami Heat bullying there way into the finals with their Big 3, teams with eyes on the championship will be looking to get significantly better in order to contend. The East is top heavy with a few elite teams while the West is a little more wide open. Teams who's window of opportunity are closing might want to trade for a player of Ellis' abilities to push them over the top for a chance to play in the Finals. In addition, teams who have been rebuilding for some time and are looking to add a veteran star to jump-start their winning ways would be very good trade partners.

1. Orlando Magic : Dwight Howard needs to find his 'Robin' because Jameer Nelson is not enough; pressure for franchise to build an attractive enough roster to convince Howard to sign an extension
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: David Kahn is running out of time as the GM, so he's publicly stated that he's ready to make a move that would bring a star veteran to take his very young team to the next level.
3. Atlanta Hawks : 86.3 ppg in the playoffs; they need that young player that can shoulder the scoring load while the others focus on filling the other important roles required for winning
4. New York Knicks : answer to Miami's Big 3; Anthony, Stoudemire, and Ellis would be the best offensive trio in the league - find dominate defenders at PG/SG and C/PF to make it a championship contending roster
5. Chicago Bulls : 92.5 ppg in the playoffs; need to take pressure off of Rose to score and create shots
6. Oklahoma City Thunder : need a 3rd scorer to take it to the next level; defenses can key on Durant and Westbrook, but adding Ellis would make their opposition's heads spin

The reason why the Warriors are considering trading a young talent like Ellis is primarily because the backcourt pairing with Curry is not ideal. Finding a backcourt mate that has complimentary size and skills is important to the success of any team going after Ellis. Ideally, he should be paired with a bigger and/or stronger PG who can defend SG's if necessary or a SG who can distribute, handle, and be a game changer even without dominating the ball.

1. Atlanta Hawks : Joe Johnson
2. Philadelphia 76ers : Jrue Holiday / Andre Iguodala
3. New Jersey Nets : Deron Williams
4. Los Angeles Lakers : Kobe Bryant
5. Dallas Mavericks : Jason Kidd / Rodrigue Beaubois
6. Minnesota Timberwolves : Ricky Rubio / Wesley Johnson
7. Portland Trailblazers : Brandon Roy
8. Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose / Ronnie Brewer
8. Memphis Grizzlies : Tony Allen (Ellis as upgrade over Mayo)

Monta Ellis was big in the southern region as a phenomenal prep prospect. His ties to that area are strong and would be a fan draw that could put fans in empty seats because of his exciting and high octane play.

1. Memphis Grizzlies
2. New Orleans Hornets
3. Atlanta Hawks
4. Charlotte Bobcats

One way I see a Curry/Ellis backcourt having a chance to work is if the front court is manned with Bigs who excel at help defense. Udoh is a good start, but David Lee is just about the worst type of PF you would want to have when trying to win with an undersized backcourt. Unfortunately, Larry Riley just signed him to a huge deal and Lee is not going anywhere soon.

1. Orlando Magic : Dwight Howard
2. Milwaukee Bucks : Andrew Bogut / Larry Sanders
3. Oklahoma City Thunder : Kendrick Perkins / Serge Ibaka / Nick Collison
4. Chicago Bulls : Joakim Noah / Taj Gibson
5. Washington Wizards : JaVale McGee
6. Atlanta Hawks : Josh Smith
7. Minnesota Timberwolves : Darko Milicic / Anthony Randolph
8. Portland Trailblazers : Greg Oden / Marcus Camby

Taking into consideration all the above factors in which teams would value and benefit most with having Monta Ellis on their roster, here are the candidates that I think would make for the best trade partners. Teams that best fit Monta Ellis won't fit perfectly, but they are much closer to making it work and becoming a better team with a few secondary and minor moves. In addition to trading for Ellis, here are the follow-up moves I see them needing to make.
1. Atlanta Hawks : add another shot blocking presence at C
2. Orlando Magic : upgrade at PF and add a lock-down perimeter defender
3. Minnesota Timberwolves : look to upgrade at C
4. Milwaukee Bucks : add more depth at C/PF
5. Chicago Bulls : add another play-maker as backup to both Rose and Monta
6. Charlotte Bobcats : upgrade PG size

1 comment:

  1. Great Analysis. I'd be interested in looking at New Orleans as a trade partner, depending on how they view their future involving the West and Paul contract situations.

    Ariza and Okafor are overpaid, slightly regrettable contracts that would make sense for them to dump in a "re-build" movement. Monta has proven himself an exciting asset selling tickets and appeasing the masses through rough times...

    Chicago has a couple pieces that fit our needs quite nicely, in Omer Asik and Ronnie Brewer. Bridging the gap in value from that point would take some creativity (5mil a yr sign-and-trade?), but Asik is highly regarded for his defensive prowess and untapped potential around the NBA.

    The other one I keep coming back to is Orlando...if they hadn't already dealt Gortat for a broken down and somewhat similar player to Ellis in the Arenas deal, that woulda been an absolutely perfect fit for both teams.