Warrior Woes

       When the Warriors hired Jerry West to advise the front office, Golden State fans let out a huge sigh of relief. By bringing in one of the most respected executives in the NBA who rebuilt the Lakers franchise and then the Grizzlies, we can expect that West will end Golden State's three consecutive seasons with a losing record (compiling a .369 winning percentage during the span). Dating back 17 years to 1994-95, the Warriors have experienced just two winning seasons and only one playoff appearance. Not too much to be excited about there. But the newly-formed West era, will begin by handing the keys to the Golden State offense over to first-time head coach Mark Jackson and second-year guard Stephen Curry and thus, trading away the undersized and shot-launching Monta Ellis.

        Ellis' 24.1 points per game ranked eighth in the league last season, while he ranked first in minutes per game (40.3) and shot attempts per game (20.1). Stephen Curry, on the other hand, averaged nearly 19 points per game, at a much more efficient 48 percent clip.

        West and Mark Jackson have made it publically known that the Warriors will have a different, defensive-minded culture next season. They'll have their work cut out for them as Golden State has finished dead last in points allowed per game four times in the last five seasons. By moving a player like Ellis, who at 6'3" as a shooting guard, lacks the size and strength to guard other 2s. Don't be fooled by his 2+ steals per game as he gambles too often, leaving his teammates poised to pick up fouls or giving the opposing team open looks.

        His gaudy offensive numbers can be dispelled by the fact that he played a lot of minutes on a fast-paced team that was usually down on the scoreboard. He ranked 47th among shooting guard in true shooting percentages. Combined with the most-telling statistic on Ellis, his team's plus/minus rating- Golden State was 11 points worse with Ellis on the court, the worst in the entire league.

        Jerry West and the rest of the Warriors' management team has put out feelers to other teams, like Philadelphia, Chicago, Memphis, and Orlando to name a few, to see what type of market is out there for Ellis. Without him in their future plans, we can surely assume that defense will be on the mind of Golden State when they pick 11th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. West could look to fill Ellis spot with a shooting guard like Alec Burks, but he will most likely be off the board by the time they get on the clock. The more likely option is picking up another perimeter defender like Chris Singleton, touted the best in the draft, or an interior presence to pair up with last year's first round pick, Ekpe Udoh; Tristan Thompson, Bismack Biyombo and Kenneth Faried could all be in play.

By President Corey Ruff - 6-8-11