The debate over which guard, Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry, is more valuable to the Golden State Warriors may go down as one of the most heated and entertaining moments in the franchise's less than storied history. In his first podcast (still without a name), Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area chats with cultural critic/blogger Ethan Sherwood Strauss about this debate, adding more fuel to the existing flame.
Neither Steinmetz nor Strauss is enamored with either of the guards. But Strauss makes an intriguing argument of why we might have been fooled into thinking Ellis was the future of the franchise: Baron Davis.
So what does Baron Davis, a guy who was last seen in a Warriors uniform benched by Don Nelson, have to do with Ellis' value? Here's what Strauss has to say and I actually buy his theory:
Strauss: Baron was so perfect for Monta's game, in that he was huge and could guard twos. But also he was a slasher that Curry is not. And their most devastating play back then, or monta's most devastating play was that Baron would just slash into the lane and kick out to Monta who was getting a running head start.
And once he caught the ball with a running head start, it was an instant layup. Without Baron helping his game, he's just a far less efficient player.
Steinmetz: I think the stats bear that out.
I've made similar arguments about Andris Biedrins declining offensive output without Baron's ability to draw multiple defenders. But I've never thought the same relationship could be applied to Monta, who has been known to be a scorer who can get his own shot.
Strauss adds a qualifier that Baron was not an elite point guard, but he had particular skill sets that just helped his teammates score and this, I believe, is undeniable. It's hard to shake this theory given that Monta's shooting percentages have nose-dived a bit since Barons departure (53% field goals in 07-08 and 45% in 10-11) and maybe Monta is a better player if he played off the ball or didn't have the offensive run through him.
Does Strauss' theory change your mind on who, Monta or Curry, is a better player?