Monta Ellis is easily one of the best guards in the NBA. Golden State Warriors fan have known this for years but it’s time for the rest of us to come around as well. Since being drafted 40th overall in the 2005 NBA Draft, Ellis has averaged over 16 points per game six times in his seven year NBA career. He finished in the top 10 in scoring each of the last two seasons and the top three in steals per game in each of the last two seasons.
His only playoff appearance came in 2007 when the Warriors made their miraculous postseason run to upset the number one seed Dallas Mavericks in six games before falling to the Utah Jazz in the second round. But he’s done everything he can to push the Warriors night in and night out to reclaim a spot in the postseason showcase. Ellis won the NBA Most Improved Player Award for the 2006-2007 season and his play has continued to improve since then.
The years of disappointing seasons could soon be behind him as the Warriors have since drafted sharpshooter Stephen Curry out of Davidson College and acquired All-Star forward David Lee from the New York Knicks in a trade that sent Kelena Azubuike, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, and a 2012 2nd round draft pick to New York.
With the NBA’s third all-time assists leader and former ESPN and ABC commentator Mark Jackson running the show as the new head coach, the ceiling for this young Warriors club could be higher than many had previously expected. In this lockout-shortened season many teams have been off to surprisingly rough starts with the Warriors being no different. At 3-7, the Warriors sit 2.5 games behind the currently eighth seeded Dallas Mavericks (6-5) in a run that has included wins over the Bulls, Knicks, and Heat.
This season is crucial for Monta Ellis and his legacy as an NBA player. He has the potential to become an elite scorer. He could either go the route of a Kevin Martin and quietly continue to score without any wins attached or he could accept his role as leader of the Warriors and mold himself into more of a Carmelo Anthony type and bring a winning attitude to the Warriors organization for the first time since the Run TMC days of the early 90’s with Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin.
Ellis has the ability to become an All-Star in the NBA; it’s up to him to convince everyone else.