Jerry West is one of the greatest NBA players of all time. His time as an executive hasn’t been too shabby either.
From 2011 to 2017, West served as an executive board member with the Golden State Warriors, and was a part of two championship teams. When West joined the organization, Steph Curry was going into his third season, and the Dubs had Monta Ellis on the roster.
While both were high-volume scorers, the pairing didn’t produce much success on the court. West joined 95.7 The Game to talk about why Ellis being moved during the 2011-12 season allowed Curry to flourish (h/t NBC Bay Area’s Ali Thanawalla):
“A very popular player during my time up there, Monta Ellis was traded and to me, that opened up [Curry’s] ability to become who he is today. I think it made him more confident. They weren’t a good, I think, pair together, and they were both terrific players, really terrific players. But I think Steph was the person that had the most growth left in him, and when Monta left, you’re seeing Steph Curry of today.”
Golden State won a total of 62 games during Curry and Ellis’ two full seasons together. They had two of the worst defensive ratings on the Warriors over those two years, but produced on the offensive end. Curry and Ellis combined to average 43 points in 2009-10, and followed that up by combining to score 42.8 points per game in 2010-11.
As West mentioned in the interview, pairing Steph with a player like Klay Thompson was the right decision. Thompson and Ellis have contrasting styles, with Klay being a catch-and-shoot guy. With Curry being out most of the 2011-12 season, Ellis led the Dubs in scoring before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in March.
The Warriors got Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson in the deal, and the team began its ascension to the top of the NBA over the following years.
What do you remember most from the seasons Curry and Ellis played together?
On to some links:
Curry is known to be a great teammate. NBC Bay Area’s Jessica Kleinschmidt writes how head coach Steve Kerr feels Steph’s personality completely changed the culture of the Warriors.
The Dubs are reportedly looking to bolster their back court depth. Fansided’s Nathan Beighle says Fred Van Vleet could be exactly what the Warriors need.
With Golden State not taking part in the NBA’s restart, the players won’t be playing a game for up to nine months due to the pandemic. General manager Bob Myers thinks the Warriors will be motivated by not being in Orlando. (Fansided)
We will find out where the Dubs are drafting next month. Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley released his latest mock draft, and has the Warriors making the obvious choice with the first pick.