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Monta Ellis says he's the NBA's second-best player

Mar 26, 2010, 6:04 PM EDT

Rolling Stone magazine recently caused a bit of a stir by saying that Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant was the second-best player in the NBA this season, behind LeBron James but ahead of reigning Finals MVP Kobe Bryant. 

Today, Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis said who he thinks the NBA’s three best players are. His views are, um… well, here’s what he said.
“I’m going to say LeBron James(notes) [third],” Ellis said recently. “He can do it all, pass, score, defend, block shots. No. 2, I would have to say, me. I can do a whole lot of things: defend, score, make passes, do whatever I need to do.
“No. 1, I’d say Kobe Bryant. There isn’t one player that can stop Kobe one-on-one. He has a lot of stuff. He can defend. And of course, he won four championships.”

If you say so, Monta. Beyond the obvious “wow, Monta thinks that he’s a lot better than he actually is” angle, here’s what I take away from this. 

It would be one thing if Monta was playing the right way for a good team when he said this. (Remember Paul Pierce calling himself “the best player in the world” after the Celtics won the championship?) It’s one thing for NBA players to be cocky — a lot of guys, especially perimeter players, need to believe in themselves a little too much in order to be effective. 
However, Monta Ellis is not playing the right way for a good team. The Warriors are a mess, and Monta has been the guy with the ball in his hands most of the time. And it’s often been ugly. In short, Monta Ellis has been hurting the Warriors by playing like a guy who thinks he’s a lot better than he actually is. The Warriors used to be one of my favorite teams to watch play. Back when Monta Ellis was playing alongside Baron Davis and hadn’t had a moped accident yet, he was one of my favorite Warriors to watch. Monta is a tremendously talented player, and once upon a time his offensive game was based around relentless drives to the basket and easy pull-up jumpers from right around the free throw line if his man went under the screen. 
This season, I can hardly watch the Warriors play. Monta has become an absolute ball-stopper, and has no problem firing up an unassisted three or deep two early in the shot clock, against a set defense, before letting any of his other teammates pass the ball. He does this despite the fact that outside shooting is the weakest part of his offensive game. When Monta scored 20 points a game on 53% shooting over the course of the 2007-08 season, he only made 12 three-pointers the entire season. This year, Ellis has taken 152 more threes than he took in 07-08 and 51 less free throws than he did in 07-08.
The Warriors need to rebuild, and the hope is that Monta Ellis will find the discipline he once had if he has some better players to pass the ball to. But if this is really the opinion Monta has of his game and the way he’s playing right now, the Warriors may want to seriously consider if they can build a successful team with Monta playing a key role. 
  1. Lebron4MVP - Mar 26, 2010 at 7:00 PM

    Well as much as I hate to admit it I think Kome is the best overall player in the league. The guy should have started to decline by now but he hasn’t. Still monta is nowhere near Lebron.

  2. lomaxxf3 - Mar 26, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    You have to consider that the team Monta is surrounded by today is not the same one that he and Baron worked with a few years back, so who can blame Monta for wanting to do as much as he can on an unhealthy team? I mean the Warriors are paying him one hefty contract, so Monta ought to live up to it. In addition, you need to consider that all teams focus on Monta which has made it harder for him to drive into the lane, and hence get more fouls. To compensate, he shoots more perimeter shots and can make them. How can you complain about that?
    Overall, Monta has expanded his game a lot more: he can reliably shoot the three, is 2nd in steals, and his assists have increased as well as he has become ever more trustful of his teammates. And don’t worry, he still drives into the lane!

  3. torturedwarrior"fan" - Mar 26, 2010 at 10:42 PM

    It’s sad to see that the reign of Monta never actually got off the ground, but then again he continues to shoot himself in the foot (or should I say ankle?). After this comment he is ever closer to snatching away the coveted title of village idiot of Oakland away from “JaMinkus” Russell.
    Stephen Curry, however, seems to be the better foundation on which to rebuild the Warrior franchise following the bay area’s summary execution of any and all decision making staff associated with Chris Cohan’s recipe for disaster. (Please Larry Ellison deliver us from evil)
    I wish more fans would demonstratively continue to embrace Steph Curry and shun Monta, in so doing their part to help the W’s get either more draft pics or make trades in order to gain some legitimate big men (as in 4 and 5 players who weigh more than 100 lbs., can rebound, post-up, and don’t sit on the bench injured for 2/3 of the season.)

  4. John R - Mar 27, 2010 at 5:09 AM

    do you guys cite your sources on this blog? how about a link?

  5. Rich-E - Mar 27, 2010 at 6:04 AM

    Do you know whether or not he was just joking about this or not?
    I’ve watched Monta for years and he’s said a few things in the past that may seem a bit weird but he jokes around.
    A lot of writers these days like to take things out of context.

  6. ben - Apr 17, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    dude monta is the warriors best player but no hes not the second best player in the NBA but you have to admit he was 6th in the league in scoring at 25.5 ppg thats pretty good

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