Life long warriors fan (aka sufferer) and overall NBA junkie here with my first post. I would love to start a dialogue about my proposed solution to the most pressing short-medium term Warriors issue. The dilemma at hand, of course, is what to do with the small starting back court. The answer to this problem came to me through my addiction to the NBA Playoffs, especially while watching the Dallas Mavericks play.
The Mavericks-Lakers series has been a prime example what makes the NBA Playoffs the most exciting of all the major sports. I'm drawn to the allure of an upset and the drama of the unexpected. On one side you have the Best NBA Franchise of the last 30 years. And on the other you’ve got a mavs team that everyone wrote off after our Warriors spanked them in 2007. The mavs are a team that now consists of a collection of players who were much better 5 years ago. But these all stars turned role players deserve a lot of credit; they are a main reason the Lakers are flying back to LA for the summer after just 4 games.
The strength of this Mavs team is not its talent, but its Mental and Testicular Fortitude. As a Warrior fan who soaked up every dirk turnover and clanked pressure shot in 2007, I never thought I would say that. But its true. This team does not give up or run scared when the game gets tough.
The reason I mention Mavs-Lakers is because it made me realize something about the Warriors bite sized back court. We’ve discussed a thousand iterations of what to do with the tiny backcourt, but I think the solution is on display anytime you watch Denver, Oklahoma City, Chicago, San Antonio (prior to this year) and especially Dallas play.
What do all these teams have in common? Aside from being perennial contenders, they all start defensive minded 2s and bring their talented offensive guards off the bench.
Watching the Dallas series has made me realize what Monta Ellis was born to be: the best sixth man in NBA history. If you want a championship caliber team, Ellis cannot be your starting two guard unless you have a point guard built like a beast (not only are these players hard to find, but the W's already have a plus pg in Steph.) I believe that a Steph/Monta starting backcourt could get a team into the playoffs, but would be an early round team at best. This is because the playoffs are all about matchups, and Monta/Steph creates an automatic mismatch every time on defense.
The solution is to bring Monta off the bench. He would be an unprecedented force off the bench to come in and play 30-35 minutes a night. He would be the best 6th man in the league from Day 1. The trend for good teams is to bring instant offense combo guards off the bench.When I think "instant offense" I think Monta Ellis. Everything about his game seems to be fit perfectly with what you look for out of a 6th man: ability to create his own shot, outside shooting range, speed/athleticism and anticipation on D. These are the types of skills that help swing the momentum in a game. His weaknesses (size, focus, defensive effort, selfishness) are minimized in a bench role.
Set the tone to start the game with a Deshaun Stevenson or Keith Bogans type, the type of player who should be easy and cheap to sign in the offseason. You would still have PLENTY of offense in the game with curry, wright and lee on the floor.
Then let Monta tear apart the other team’s 2nd unit. Coming off the bench would hide his defensive deficiencies and increase his offensive efficiency as he wouldn’t have to play 48 minutes a game anymore. This move would also help Steph, who seems to struggle when left in the game for long stretches with Monta dominating the ball.
The bottom line is that Monta should not be traded at a discount, rather he needs be utilized correctly. And the Warriors lackluster bench production? Problem solved.