Q&A: Marcus Thompson - Contra Costa Times + Inside the Warriors (Part 2 of 3)

In the first part of our Q&A Marcus Thompson we looked at the We Believe Warriors vs the 2007-2008 edition and the Jason Richardson for Brandan Wright swap.

Jump to see Marcus' thoughts on Monta Ellis and the Warriors looming contract decision.

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Golden State of Mind: Scoring-wise Monta Ellis' game has soared to new heights this season. The exclamation point was of course his spectacular February in which he shot above 60% from the field. However Monta hasn't shown much ability to be a full time distributing point guard as his assists are down and his defense has been somewhat nonexistent. What are the upper and lower limits for Monta's production over the next 2-4 years? This coming offseason Monta will be looking for a new contract. What type of deal do you think Monta and his agent are looking for? How much do you think the Warriors will offer him? Do you see any teams trying to pry him away on the free agent market?

Marcus Thompson (6/10/08)I’ve been shackling Monta with can’t-dos since he got to the league. He can’t play point guard because he can’t dribble. He can’t play shooting guard because he’s too small. He can’t start because he can’t defend. He can’t come off the bench because he doesn’t share the ball. The more I watch him play, the more I hesitate to box this dude in because his capacity to improve is outstanding.

Does he have limitations? Absolutely. Way more than most know. But I just have serious reservations about saying what he won’t be able to do. I have watched him learn how to dribble, learn how to stick a mid-range jumper, learn how to make free throws, learn how to create in traffic, learn how to rebound among trees.

 

The Warriors always hang their hat on the young age of their players. Whenever someone is not up to par, they say “Remember, he’s only 20 or whatever.” I think that is mostly overrated. Skill doesn’t always come with age, and when it does, that player is usually with another team by the time he reaches his potential anyway. But in Monta’s case, its so true. He’s only 22. He didn’t play any college ball. He was/is going to improve. His game is still developing.

 

With that being said, he won’t ever be Baron when it comes to point guard skills. But I can definitely see him getting his handles and vision to a point where he can play the position – not excel at the position, but play the position.

 

As far as his contract, I think he’ll do something around six years, $60 million. Because this year’s market will be loaded with free agents, Monta – a restricted free agent – won’t get the offers he otherwise would. Because the Warriors have the right to match, and seven days to do so, teams will be wary about making an offer and waiting (because once a player signs an offer sheet, that money is locked up until his team accepts or rejects), because they could be missing out on someone else and still wind up with nothing. Plus Mullin has already said he would match, which means other teams know their offer will be in vain or they would have to offer way above market value to scare the Warriors away.

 

With those parameters in place, the Warriors and Ellis will have to negotiate between themselves. The Warriors will make him happy, because they don’t want him to play for a qualifying offer and become a free agent next year, but they won’t go overboard. 

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Be on the lookout for part 3!

 

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