In the ongoing roller coaster that is the debate of whether Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry is the face of the franchise, probably magnified by the pending trade deadline on Feb. 19, Golden State Warriors GM Larry Riley has a lot to think about. As Marcus Thompson II reported earlier, Riley's hands are tied as his expiring contracts have become surprisingly useless to the Warriors in a limited, available talent pool:
"The main thing is do the right thing," Riley said. "But there is no question we need to make this team better. It has to be done in the right way. It won't be done in a knee-jerk reaction. We can (wait). We prefer to find a solution before the deadline. But if we have to, we can do it this summer."
The reality is a difference-maker is probably not going to come by the Feb. 24 trade deadline. The Warriors' main assets, the more than $17 million of expiring contracts, are not as valuable. Few difference-maker types are available. The ones who are would require something the Warriors don't want to give up.
But as Warriors fans debated whether Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry could co-exist and wondered more and more who to trade, the Warriors quietly rolled out three wins in a row, finally beating an elite team in the Chicago Bulls. But after winning what Dorell Wright called "definitely the biggest win by far this year" -- punctuated by Derrick Rose's nine turnovers and Monta and Curry's combined 56 points and 13 assists (four turnovers combined) -- the Warriors looked about as hopeless as a penny with a hole in it against the Phoenix Suns.
The three game roll featured Monta snapping out of his funk and doing what he does best: twisting, Houdini-type dribble drives and that improved midrange jumper. After having putting up 2 points in a win against the Deron Williams-less Utah Jazz, Monta rebounded with a 24-point effort, followed by 33 points against the Bulls. The dismantling at the hands of the Suns quickly ended this cheer, especially when Channing Frye (19 points and 11 rebounds) looked more like LaMarcus Aldridge than the lanky kid typically scared of the interior. Again, with one huge win, all was perfect again in the Warriors backcourt. And just like that, a disappointing loss against the Suns and another poor effort from our backcourt brought back the backcourt debates, once again.