Monta Ellis Monta Ellis

The Monta Ellis Storm


It is no secret that Golden State is shopping Monta Ellis (or at least that is what somebody wants us to believe). The Warriors have talked to several teams, including the Magic, according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle. And these talks have sprung up rumors ranging from the Bulls sending Luol Deng to the 76ers shipping off Andre Iguodala.

“League sources said the Warriors also have discussed Ellis, among a variety of other players, in trade talks with Atlanta, Chicago, Memphis, Orlando and the Lakers,” Simmons wrote (notice no Philadelphia). “Executive board member Jerry West said at his opening news conference last month that the Warriors needed to be willing to take risks, and the most obvious gamble would be breaking up the backcourt of Ellis and Stephen Curry.”

It is no surprise that Golden State is looking to make some type of move or push the restart button to some extent. The Warriors introduced a new owner in Joe Lacob, have a new advisor in their front office in Jerry West and a new coach in Mark Jackson. Each will surely look to work together to put their stamp on the team. That makes Ellis, a high-scoring, high-usage guard who puts up points in bunches but does little else besides eating up cap room ($33 million over the next three years with ETO in 2013) and stifling Stephen Curry‘s development, somewhat expendable.

If the Warriors want to make a big move to remake their roster, as it appears they do, Ellis is the one likely to go.

It is no secret that Orlando is looking for the kind of instant offense Ellis could provide. Throughout the season, the Magic lacked a player they could give the ball to and simply expect points, especially late in games when fouling is an option on Dwight Howard. Orlando needed an offense and point creator last season when the offense bogged down or at least to keep defenses honest and give Howard, Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu more room to work.

When you go to the trade market, you are sometimes trading for everyone else’s trash. You are not going to get the most ideal trade. But the Magic do absolutely need to find that go-to scorer to make the kind of roster improvements they want to make.

As Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post writes in his analysis of a potential Ellis acquisition: “I still struggle with where I stand on the issue of shot-creation versus efficiency. It’s hard to dispute Charles Barkley when he says every team needs ‘that dude’ to whom a coach ‘can say, ‘hey, here’s the ball, I need a basket,’ and count on to deliver.

“The Magic, for better or worse, do not have ‘that dude,’ instead relying on the perimeter-oriented committee of Jameer Nelson, Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu to generate offense in late-game situations. Their best, most efficient player, Howard, is relegated to screening and rebounding duties.

“There’s no question Ellis can get a shot almost anytime he likes. There are numerous questions about whether that skill benefits his team. At the risk of being obvious, every shot he takes is one that a teammate can’t. Among Warriors regulars, he ranked sixth in True Shooting.”

Evan is absolutely right, Ellis knows how to put up points in bunches, but he rarely does so efficiently.

He has a career PER of 16.8, although he posted the second best number of his career last year with a 18.6. Ellis has had an effective field goal percentage above 50 percent just once — again, last year was his third best year in that regard with a 49.3 percent eFG%. He averaged 20 field goal attempts last year, and shot 45.1 percent from the floor. He got to the line just five times per game and posted a usage rate of 28.1 percent.

As Evan pointed out in his analysis of Ellis, Monta likes to take long two-pointers, long considered the most inefficient shot in the game. Throughout his career he has consistently averaged more two-pointers from 16-23 feet than any other shot. Last year, Ellis took 6.6 shots from 16-23 feet per game compared to 5.2 shots per game at the rim.

Assumedly, Ellis might be more efficient offensively with a better supporting cast around him. And even though Ellis has never been known for anything on the defensive end, Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard have a way of turning poor defenders into pretty good-looking ones.

It is difficult at this stage to determine what rumors and reports are true and what are merely smokescreens sent out by general managers and agents trying to drive the other side to offer more — for instance, the Clippers might be sending out signals that Andre Iguodala is the market price for Chris Kaman even though the 76ers have no intention of making that deal.

The Magic simply do not have a whole ton to offer, as Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury-News reports. Jameer Nelson has the team’s most movable contract and Ryan Anderson and J.J. Redick are nice pieces. But teams are not going to be willing to make them the centerpiece of a trade. The Warriors likely have little interest in Nelson because one of the reasons Golden State is looking to move Ellis is because of the small backcourt he creates with Stephen Curry.

Orlando is definitely going to be mentioned in many more rumors as the summer drags on. Without doubt the team is looking for that offensive punch and “that guy” who can score at will. Ellis is certainly one option to explore. And the Magic will be connected to many other such players.

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