Hey look, I don’t claim to be objective here. It’s not exactly a secret that am a big Monta fan, albeit more in the aesthetic sense than anything. Thing is, this isn’t really about how much fun I have watching him, or his immensely unpredictable, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-jumper style. It’s even better than that.
Monta Ellis-to-Philly rumors are flying every which way but loose. Could it be?
Looks like I’ll be watching a whole lot of 76er games next year.
The guy fits on the Sixers.
Six months ago, this looked like a rag-tag group of players, none great, who seemed to lack an identity. 30 wins looked like a good bet. Of course, Doug Collins can work small miracles with rosters like this, and by seasons’ end he’d found a way to squeeze 41 wins out of them, mostly by letting them run and making them defend. Of course, They were death in the halfcourt and finished 22nd in the league in 3 pointers made, with a good chunk of those by the bench. Point is, the team was only gonna go as far as the offense could take them.
Not far, in other words.
All you had to do was watch the Miami/Philly playoff series to see the problem. Honestly, it was two teams who try to do essentially the same thing (i.e. defend and run) only one of them had Dwyane Wade and LeBron James and the other had Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday. The Sixers have a nice handful of guys who can hit some shots and score some points, but nobody who could be called a prolific scorer. Ellis could be that guy. What’s more, great scorers tend to make life easier for the other four guys on the court, as evidenced by the Mavs’ Finals run this year. When you’re job is simply to hit open threes and uncontested layups, you’ve got a better chance at succeeding than most. Not saying Ellis and Dirk are the same player by any means, but Ellis is plenty good enough to draw more defensive attention than the average player.
Ok, so now we’ve gotten to the part where I tell the advanced stat droids to get lost. Seriously, I don’t need you to tell me how overrated and inefficient he is, I can read. Problem with the stats of course has always been that some people tend to take them too literally and without context. For someone to think a players’ high volume of shots and possessions isn’t affected by playing for the Golden State Warriors and having the eternal green light wold reflect their lack of perspective, at the very least. Suffice to say, Monta Ellis isn’t going to get the same leeway from Doug Collins. What he will get is a chance to be the featured offensive weapon on a team that could really use one. Yeah, he’s not ever gonna be Steve Nash, but he’s not allergic to passing the ball by any means. He is also, a 25 year old who has averaged 25 points a game the last two seasons while showing signs of maturity.
Point is, the Sixers as presently constituted don’t really have a lot of room for growth. Give or take an injury or two and a lack of effort and they could easily miss the playoffs. Risky or not, the Ellis move could be a big winner if he can find a way to make it work. Decisions like these always come down to whether a team is willing to take just such a risk.
Personally, I’d roll the dice. If the pieces fall just right, they’ll be the proverbial “team nobody wants to play” come next Playoffs.