Al Harrington has gone on record, predicting that Monta will be the scoring champ this year, according to a recent sports article. While Al Harrington is an idiot, I think this is an interesting claim.
Monta takes it to the hole against a reeling Rockets defense.
Can Monta be the scoring champ this year? If so, would that be good for the Warriors? I am not predicting he will be and certainly don't expect him to become the scoring champ. However, I also can't say it's impossible.
Monta Ellis has proven in the past that he can step up his game and improve dramatically. In 2006-2007, he was recognized by the NBA as the most improved player. What's more, as the Monta Ellis article from Wikipedia explains:
Monta Ellis became the ninth guard in league history to shoot at least 60 percent from the field in a single month after making 60.2 percent of his shots in February, 2008. He was honored after the last game of the month by assistant coach Sidney Moncrief, one of the eight other players to achieve the feat; the other guards to perform this feat were John Stockton,Ricky Pierce, Earl Monroe, Jim Paxson, Fred Brown, Sidney Moncrief, Brad Davis, and Steve Nash. Monta Ellis also scored over 30 points in the month of February for four games straight.
Keep in mind that none of those other guards scored nearly as high as Monta, which is to say that was probably the greatest regular season scoring month of any guard in the NBA ever.
While Monta has not lived up to expectations since then, partly due to a certain self-inflicted injury of his, Keith Smart seems to be of the opinion that Monta is a new man, perhaps on the verge of repeat greatness:
This young man has made a complete turnaround in his life, and once your life is in order things start to work perfectly for you. His relationship and his life are in great order, and the guy has been ready to play since the summer working with Coach Silas in Memphis, and he's carried that over when he came into town early and he’s done that through preseason. He’s also been teaching. There was a point in practice yesterday, I was getting ready to explain to explain something I saw, and right then he stepped in, and that’s growth. He’s also trying to do it (score) in an efficient way, I can’t say how glad I am to be coaching this guy at this particular point in his career...
At halftime he was 10-13 and he was scoring in an efficient way [on opening night against the Rockets]. He’s not wanting to have the ball in his hand a lot, but he’s taking shots in the area where he shot the ball from a couple of years ago, the mid-range pull-up. He’s just got to understand that he has a unique skill where he can shoot the three; he can put it on the floor for the mid-range pull-up and get to the rim.
There is no question, Monta will likely be one of the better scoring guards in the league this year. The question is, just how good will he be? Judging by game one, he looks determined to have a different kind of scoring year, one perhaps that will better reflect what he accomplished in his MIP year.
Smart sees that if Monta sticks to what he does best, the mid-range pull-up and attacking the rim, he's going to be truly special, not only scoring a lot but scoring efficiently. Between David Lee's talents down low and Curry's passing and deadly three point shooting, teams have a lot to worry about playing against the Dubs other than Monta himself. If Monta can take advantage of Curry's passing and the attention both Curry and Lee will draw away from him, we may see a career year from him in scoring. Will that be enough to surpass the likes of Kevin Durant? I'm going to say, no it won't be. Durant will be the scoring champ this year.
But I see Monta as a man on a mission this year, someone who sees his life going well, on and off the court. That type of self-image and attitude will take him far, but his incredible speed and natural abilities may take him to the top of the heap among guards in the NBA. With a player like that, my calls for Monta to be traded will permanently end (barring a truly phenomenal trade offer), and so should everyone else's calls for such a thing.
Dorrel Wright after Wednesday's near triple-double against the Grizz, wherein Monta scored 39, via Yahoo! Sports recap:
That’s why he’s one of the elite players... He’s the face of this organization because he can get going any time he wants to. He reminds me of Dwyane Wade... It was impeccable.
Looks like Monta is still on pace to at least score more than last year. The man looks great so far this season, does he not? Here's the NBA scoring leaders. After 4, Monta is number 1.