Top NBA Players: #43 Monta Ellis

April 18, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis (11) drives past Washington Wizards guard Jordan Crawford (15) at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Monta Ellis
Resume: 20.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 36.6 minutes, 43% FG, 31% 3PT, and 80% FT… Team record in games played: 29-29 (0-1 without in Golden State, 0-2 without in Milwaukee)

As we get to the Monta Ellis section, you readers are in for a monumental treat. For years, my cousin/fellow die hard basketball fan Paul Clark and I have assembled a collection of names that make up the Brian Cook All-Stars. No, this is not a collection of former Big Ten players. It is also not a list of players who were irrelevant 10th men in the mid 00’s. This is a collection of guys who come in the game and have nothing on their mind besides getting as many shots up as humanly possible. Maybe it’s a good thing that they are shooting; maybe it makes you smash your head against a wall if he plays for your favorite team. All you need to do to qualify for this hypothetical All-Star team is have a singular focus, and that is shoot the basketball like it’s going out of style. Since the list is named after Brian Cook, he is permanently retired and now a part of the Brian Cook All-Stars Hall of Fame. Since we have so many guys looking for shots on this hypothetical team, they couldn’t possibly play all 12 guys on their team because a number of fist fights would likely ensue. Let’s stick with a 7 man roster. That should be safe.

Eddie House – During a 2011 NBA Finals running diary I joked that Eddie House “looks like a crack addict who desperately needed his fix.” That’s a totally legitimate statement in my eyes. The funny thing is, the 2010-11 season with Miami was one of House’s most tame seasons. In 2010-11, House averaged 11.8 field goal attempts per 36 minutes, which pales in comparison to his 2005-06 season with Phoenix where House was getting up 19.2 shots per 36 minutes and an incredible 8.0 three-point attempts. Incredible!

JR “Earl” Smith – Hard to believe that on multiple teams with Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith could seemingly steal shots from Melo, who is known to get quite a few shots up himself.

Jamal Crawford – Crawford doesn’t have the outstanding shots per 36 minutes numbers that some of the other guys on the list will have, but if you’ve seen Jamal Crawford play, you know that he isn’t exactly a pass first guy. If this hypothetical team played a close game you’d need the Jaws of Life to get the ball out of Jamal Crawford’s hands.

Quincy Douby – Douby makes the list basically because of his college career, where he was the only scoring option on a relatively mediocre Rutgers team. Basically, he locked up a spot on the team when Pauley and I saw him shoot a 3 from inside the center court “R” on at Rutgers, with oodles of time on the shot clock.

Michael Redd – At one point you could make the argument that Michael Redd was a top 25 player in the league, and that’s when he was in his Brian Cook All-Stars prime.

Channing Frye – Maybe over the last three years Frye has just been a product of the system in Phoenix, but it seems apparent that no matter what team he is playing for he is more than willing shoot an abundance of pick and pop 3’s. It seems like he badly misses more often than not.

Monta Ellis – I have to be completely honest, I personally am not the biggest fan of Monta Ellis. It has nothing to do with him personally, I just didn’t like that he took away shots from Stephen Curry in Golden State. I guess I look at Stephen Curry the way I’m going to someday look at my son when he plays basketball. If he isn’t getting enough shots, I’m most likely going to get irritated. Now that Ellis has left Golden State, it’s allowed me to evaluate him with more of a level head, and come to some interesting conclusion… I think Ellis might just be the poor man’s Allen Iverson. Here is why:

  • Ellis and Iverson both are small guards who attack the basket relentlessly and play bigger than their size.
  • Off the court each guy has some issues. Ellis’s buzzwords are “Motorized scooter” and “Cell phone pictures” while Iverson’s are “Casino’s” and “Practice”.
  • Even though I believe an injury free Stephen Curry is a better overall player than Monta Ellis, Ellis gets the edge because he, like Iverson, is durable and plays an incredible amount of minutes. Last season Ellis played 32 more games than Curry, and over the last 3 years Ellis has logged a crazy amount of minutes (1st in the league in 2010 and 2011, 11th in the league last season) in the process.
  • Monta Ellis and Iverson both have an absolutely insane amount of tattoos. Well actually, it may just be one large “family tree” that covers Ellis’s whole body, but the guy is seriously inked up. I thought the two tattoos that I have are a lot.
  • Neither Iverson nor Ellis shoots a high percentage, but both guys could absolutely fill it up. And maybe it’s just the fact that my memory is a little foggy, but it seems like no one has more 20 plus point first halves over the last 3 years or so than Monta Ellis. The Mississippi Missile lights it up early like people who buy their Christmas trees before Thanksgiving.

If Ellis and Brandon Jennings can figure out how to play together and share the ball (those are Gheorghe Muresan sized if’s), the Bucks could potentially sneak into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. If not, Ellis will likely be traded since he nor Milwaukee will really have much interest in keeping him there at season’s end if he can’t play with Brandon Jennings. No matter where he is, there is a Monta Ellis jump shot coming to a basketball court near you.