Think back to the pre-dynasty Golden State Warriors. There was a time when they had THE most important decision on their hands for their franchise moving forward. It 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 point guard with his father Dell Curry‘s shooting range, there was a player who owned the Bay Area and the fans in it – that was gunning shooting guard Monta Ellis.
In 2009-10, Ellis was riding high with the Golden State Warriors. It was his team until some rookie came along and challenged that. That was Curry. However, as most fans failed to realize, the Warriors’ backcourt of Curry and Ellis did just fine that season and the next one. Ellis led the way with 25.5 points per game in 2009-10 and had another 24.1 points in 2010-11.
Curry, still fresh off that remarkable NCAA run with Davidson, averaged 17.5 points in 2009-10 and 18.6 points per game in 2010-11. What you’re seeing in the Splash Brothers was already in place with these two. Too bad it didn’t work.
There were cases where Monta Ellis was thought to be a member of a gang. That was so not true. He played the game of basketball with his energy constantly on 100 percent. At that time, Crip Walking and finger-flashing were a part of the Urban Community and Ellis made his stance. But Warriors’ management weren’t too thrilled, and they acted as such.
In 2011, the Warriors sent Ellis and his explosive talents to the Milwaukee Bucks for wing Stephen Jackson and center Andrew Bogut in order to get better on the defensive side. That trade basically created 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’ll never know the answer to that but we’ve been privileged to witness one of, if not, the best shooter in NBA history make his mark much more because of it.
Should The Warriors Have Kept Monta Ellis And Stephen Curry?
Is Stephen Curry and Ellis the same as Curry and Klay 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 that year. Ellis was good but he may have been too egotistical to sacrifice his offensive game for the betterment of the team. The Golden State Warriors would still be good with Ellis, though, considering they have Draymond Green and Kevin Durant.
It would be a thing of beauty to see Curry, Ellis, Durant, and Green. Of course, Ellis must be in his prime at the time. While Thompson is electric, he’s also sort of a one-dimensional offensive player. Ellis had the ability to break a defender down and hit from the perimeter. Thompson can attack the rim at times after closeouts when his shot is not falling but not with the same fluidity as Ellis could.
With one decision, the fate of the Golden State Warriors was settled. To be honest, it could have gone either way. Curry could have easily been the one shipped out, but the Warriors saw him as the franchise guy at the time. That wasn’t as simple then, considering Ellis was the leading scorer. He was also still young and had the backing of the fan base at his disposal. The Warriors are just fine with their choice, though, since Curry has led the Golden State Warriors to three of the last four NBA championships along with Thompson.
It’s easy to say they made the best decision, but what if? What if they kept Ellis and Curry and never took Thompson?