While I was on vacation, this was a question that kept popping into my head. The play of Monta Ellis since the Stephen Jackson trade has been nothing short of spectacular, fueling speculation that the Warriors could get their first player in the NBA All-Star Game since Latrell Sprewell in 1997.
Does Monta Ellis deserve to be an All-Star this season? Will he make the All-Star team? Obviously, those are two very different questions.
Ellis’ chances of making the All-Star team aren’t good. You only have to look at the Warriors’ recent track record of attracting All-Star consideration to determine that Ellis will probably be sitting at home instead of taking the court in Dallas on February 14. You would think that during the Warriors’ recent stretch of success, they would have generated an All-Star selection or two.
In 2006-07, the Warriors finished with 42 wins. Baron Davis averaged 20.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 8.1 assists. He didn’t make the All-Star team. In 2007-08, the Warriors won 48 games. Davis averaged 21.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 7.6 assists. Again, no All-Star game for the Warriors’ top player. Davis was a more well-known player at that time than Ellis is now, so if Davis couldn’t get any respect, don’t count on that changing for Ellis this season.
So, most likely, Ellis won’t make the All-Star team, regardless of how good his stats look.
Which brings us to the other question. Is Ellis deserving of playing in the All-Star game this season? We should take a look at Ellis’ season, and compare it to other guards in the Western Conference that will compete for All-Star consideration with Ellis. We will also take into consideration the record of the teams of each player, because coaches who select the All-Star reserves (the only real chance Ellis has at getting on the team) will look at team record. It’s not something you can ignore.
MONTA ELLIS, Warriors
Season statistics: 24.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.36 steals, 4.5 turnovers, .453 FG, .350 3P, .796 FT, 40.7 minutes
Team record: 7-15
The rest I’ll do in alphabetical order
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS, Nuggets
Season statistics: 17.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.09 steals, 2.2 turnovers, .395 FG, .378 3P, .909 FT, 32.5 minutes
Team record: 16-7
KOBE BRYANT, Lakers
Season statistics: 28.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.19 steals, 2.81 turnovers, .491, .328, .844, 36.8 minutes
Team record: 18-3
TYREKE EVANS, Kings
Season statistics: 20.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 2.95 turnovers, .464, .262, .774, 36.1 minutes
Team record: 9-12
STEVE NASH, Suns
Season statistics: 17.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 11.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 3.83 turnovers, .521, .476, .948, 33.1 minutes
Team record: 16-7
TONY PARKER, Spurs
Season statistics: 17.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 0.69 steals, 3.44 turnovers, .505, .333, .778, 30.9 minutes
Team record: 11-9
CHRIS PAUL, Hornets
Season statistics: 21.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 10.4 assists, 2.07 steals, 2.57 turnovers, .543, .535, .857, 35.2 minutes
Team record: 10-12
BRANDON ROY, Blazers
Season statistics: 21.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 0.75 steals, 2.33 turnovers, .450, .326, .809, 37.4 minutes
Team record: 14-10
DERON WILLIAMS, Jazz
Season statistics: 19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 10.1 assists, 1.1 steals, 3.3 turnovers, .482, .348, .739, 39.1 minutes
Team record: 13-9
Now, considering there were 5 guards on the Western Conference All-Star team last season, is Ellis better than at least 5 players on the list above? I would say that right now, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams are absolutely more deserving than Ellis. Their stats are all very impressive and except for Paul, they all play for teams that are much better than the Warriors. So that leaves one spot open.
Ellis or Chauncey Billups?
Ellis or Tyreke Evans?
Ellis or Tony Parker?
Ellis or Brandon Roy?
Of those four, it’s a tough call. If I had to choose one player between Ellis, Billups, Evans, Parker and Roy, I would have a tough time choosing between Ellis, Billups and Roy. Ellis’ stats are better than both of those players, but Billups and Roy are the leaders of winning teams, and Ellis is leading a team that is on pace to win 26 games. It’s a tough call. Plus, I keep going back to Ellis’ turnovers. The Warriors are 0-4 in games decided by five points or less this season. If Ellis took care of the ball better, would the Warriors fare better in close games? Change that record to 4-0, and the Warriors are 11-11 right now instead of 7-15.
What do you think? If you could choose five players from the list above, what would your five look like? Post your thoughts in the comments section.