If you look back at the events that led up to the Golden State Warriors becoming the gold standard of the NBA, it’s hard not think of some of the fortunate things that broke the Dubs’ way.
Brad Botkin of CBS Sports did a nice look back at the Monta Ellis deal and how that moment officially made the Warriors Steph Curry’s team.
Ellis, who was a walking bucket with the Dubs, was a fan favorite in the Bay Area. His role on the “We Believe” Warriors will alway be appreciated by fans and his style of play consistently brought excitement.
He averaged a career high 25.5 points per game in Curry’s rookie year and the two looked to be growing into one of the most dynamic offensive backcourts in the NBA.
The problem with the duo was on the defensive end, which didn’t help with the Dubs’ playoff chances. They missed the postseason in 2009-10 and 2010-121, which led to Ellis being dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks the following season for a package centered around center Andrew Bogut.
Current Atlanta Hawks president and general manager Travis Schlenk, who was an assistant GM with the Warriors at the time of the Ellis trade, shared the team’s reasoning to make the move with CBS Sports:
“But there was another whole part of that trade, which is that we knew we needed to get a defensive anchor at center. We were trying to change the way we played. We wanted to get bigger. Tougher. We weren’t getting anywhere just trying to outscore teams. So getting [Andrew] Bogut was a big part of that deal. Obviously in hindsight it’s all about turning the team over to Steph, but people forget how big Bogut was in winning that first championship. That’s where the defensive part of the equation really started to change. Sitting here today, I can’t say that trade was more about giving Steph the team or getting that defensive anchor. It was both.”
Even though the Dubs struggled after trading Ellis, going 5-22 the rest of the season, the stars aligned for the franchise.
As Botkin points out, everything played out perfectly for the Warriors to setup their historic five-year run where they won three championships:
- The Warriors kept their top-seven protected pick as a result of the late season skid and used it on forward Harrison Barnes. If the Dubs pick fell to No. 8 or lower, it would have went to the Utah Jazz.
- Klay Thompson and Draymond Green joined the Warriors after being picked in the 2011 and 2012 NBA Drafts, setting the foundation for the Dubs’ run.
- Of course, this all wouldn’t be possible if Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn didn’t pass on Curry twice in the 2009 NBA Draft for Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. (Seriously, how Kahn made these choices is still a great mystery.)
A lot of things have went right for the Warriors since picking Curry, but Ellis will always have a place in the hearts of Dubs Nation.
Onto some more links: