Think back. There was a time when the Golden State Warriors had THE most important decision on their hands. Just so happens that it wasn’t that important at the moment. If only they knew how close they were to throwing away a Dynasty. When Stephen Curry was just a little young scrawny rookie with his father’s shooting range there was a kid who owned the Bay Area and the fans in it– Monta Ellis. Ellis was the scorer the Warriors been missing since the days of Mitch Richmond but Ellis had the swag to back up his moves.
In 2009, Ellis was riding high with the Warriors. It was his team and then some rookie came along and challenged that. However, as most fans failed to realize, the Warriors backcourt of Curry and Ellis did just fine that season and next. Ellis led the way with 25 points per game in ’09 and another 24 in 2010. Curry, still fresh off that remarkable NCAA run with Davidson averaged 18 points in 2009 and 19 points in 2019. What your’re seeing in the Splash Brothers was already in place with these two. Too bad it didn’t work.
There were cases where Ellis was thought to be a member of a gang. So not true. He played the game with his energy on 100. At that time, Crip walking and finger-flashing were a part of the Urban Community and Ellis made his stance. But Warriors management wasn’t too thrilled. In 2011, the Warriors sent Elis and his explosive talents to the Milwaukee Bucks for Stephen Jackson and Andrew Bogut in order to get better on the defensive side. Thus basically creating the foundation for what we see today.
But what if the Warriors didn’t make that move? What if they thought Curry’s ankles would never improve and they kept Ellis? Ellis himself has said the team wouldn’t have won a title with him as the lead player. That takes a lot to say but is he right? We will never know the answer to that but we have been privileged to witness one of if not the best shooters in NBA history.
Is Klay Thompson and Ellis the same as Curry and Thompson? Before the 2017 NBA Finals, I would’ve said yes. Both are high volume scorers but Thompson showed his worth with his defense against the Cavaliers. Ellis was good but he may have been too egotistical to sacrifice his offensive game for the betterment of the team. The Warriors would still be good with Ellis considering they would still have Draymond Green and Kevin Durant.
With one decision the fate of the Warriors was settled. To be honest– it could have gone either way. Curry could have easily been the one shipped out. Ellis was the leading scorer, still young and had the backing of the fans at his disposal. But management wanted different. Just so happens they made the right decision.