What is the correct basketball play to make when you are guarded by three or more players?
Well, now that we've got Point Guard out of the way, it's time to take a look at Shooting Guard and a couple guys that could make or break our season. Monta Ellis could be the single biggest X-factor on a team full of X-factors. What will his role on this team be, and how will he respond to it? He clearly has the physical skills to be a very successful player in this league (he's shown he can do so with the right mentality, and in the right role), but will he be able to show the maturity to sacrifice his ego for the sake of the team?
Looking further down the depth chart, did we strike D-League gold again with Reggie Williams? Can he be anything more than a dependable bench player? On a team that sacrificed so much of its depth this offseason Reggie Williams performance will make a big difference in the win column.
A lot of Warrior fans went in heavy and bought as much stock in Monta Ellis as they could afford back in '07-'08 when he put up 20+ppg with deadly efficiency, on a 48 win Warrior team that looked to be on the rise. Of course the following offseason Baron Davis took a ride down I-5 to Clipperville and Monta took a ride on a moped to the emergency room. Since then Monta has been working hard to make up for the losses that the team and the fans suffered when his stock plummeted. Last year he came out with a chip on his shoulder looking to prove that he can be the man on this team and carry the load on offense. The results were mixed as he was able to put up 25.5 ppg (sixth highest average in the league) getting his name in lights next to the likes of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and Dirk Nowitzki, but doing so at the expense of his once stellar scoring efficiency. He was a highlight machine, taking it to the teeth of the defense and often cutting through and finishing over multiple defenders. Of course, his aggressive mentality also lead to far too many turnovers and missed shots that would have been better off coming from one of the players left open by the collapsing defense. If we learned anything about Monta last season it was that he needs a more defined role to be successful.
Joseph Lacob believes in the 'Trivection' method of winning basketball games,
and apparently Monta Ellis is not the 'third heat'
It seems that the tone has already been set by the new Warriors ownership when Joe Lacob said in an interview on KNBR that he sees Curry and Lee as the two stars on this team. That means either Monta will have to accept a lesser role, or he and the team will likely have to part ways at some point. Monta has surprised people who have doubted his ability again and again in his life, and I can't think of a better way for him to prove the doubters wrong (myself included) than for him to not only accept a lesser role on offense, but to embrace it, and flourish in it. Last year Monta often played like an attack dog, rushing into fights he couldn't win. When Baron was here Monta was like an attack dog on a leash. Back then Monta would never come back for the ball after a defensive rebound, he would streak down the court every time knowing that Baron would find him if the opportunity was there, and he led the league in fast break points because of it. In the half court he would defer to Baron to run the offense, and he could focus on exploiting his defender. Is there any way that he could find that kind of chemistry with Curry? That would be fun to watch.
What do we have here? With Kelenna Azubuike, CJ Watson, and now Reggie Williams, it seems like the Warriors may be the best team in the league at identifying NBA talent in the D-League. Well, it seems that way, but it might just be that we've had so many injuries over the last few seasons that we've had to call up more guys than most teams. Whether it's bad luck, dumb luck, or good scouting, it looks like they've don it again. After being called up in early March, Reggie began to contribute right away. In his fifth game with the team Reggie put up an impressive 28 pts on 62.5% shooting with 6 ast, 2 stl, and only 1 tov. That seemed to get coach's attention and the minutes came regularly from then on. By the end of his first month with the team, putting up 20+ points in an NBA game was practically old hat for Reggie, having already done so 6 times. He finished the year with very respectable averages of 15.2 pts 4.6 reb 2.8 ast in 32.6 minutes and a very healthy .588 TS%.
Hey Reggie! Don't forget your angry eyes!!
We are absolutely going to need that kind of production from him this year, as we've seen any kind of depth on the wing disappear when Warriors management decide to let Morrow walk, and trade away Maggette and Azubuike over the course of the summer. As the roster stands now he looks to be the main backup at both the SG and SF spots. Is he ready for that? He's only racked up a total of 782 NBA minutes, and all of those came in the closing months of a lost season. He performed so well, but is it really a smart strategy to trot such a thin rotation out there at the wing? Doesn't leave much margin for error, does it? Personally I think he can handle it, but he still has a lot to prove. The good news for him is that it looks like he will get plenty of opportunities to do so.