Sick of arguing with your friends about who is the best player in the NBA? Leading into the ’13-14 NBA Season, Ball So Hard will be putting an end to the debate. Here is the decisive list of the 50 best NBA players.
Note: predictions are for the up coming season and rank players on how they will perform in the ’13-14 season.
No. 47, Monta Ellis
Everything about Monta Ellis’ game is eye catching. The tattoos, the crossovers, the speed, those shots that make you go “no no noooooyeeeaaaahhhhhh”. Ellis’ game was destined for the highlight reels.
Ellis is by far one of the best second round picks in recent memory. Since being drafted by the Warriors with the 10th pick of the second round, 40th overall, in 2005, Ellis has put up career numbers of 19.4 points and 4.7 assists per game.
There is a reason they call him the “Mississippi Missle”. Ellis is one of the most explosive players in the game. His deadly first step and elite acceleration allow him to create separation between him and the defence at will. His ability to create his own shot is among the best in the league.
One of the biggest criticisms of Ellis’ game is that he often looks for his own shot too much. Although his shot selection can be questionable at times, he is still a career 45.6% shooter from the floor.
Because of his high volume shooting, many people also overlook Ellis’ passing game. Over the past two seasons, Ellis has been good for 6 assists a night. While those numbers aren’t eye-popping, they are still better than those put up by fulltime starting points like Kyrie Irving, Raymond Felton and Kemba Walker.
One aspect of Ellis’ game that doesn’t stand out in the box score is his durability. In 2009-10 and 2010-11 he led the league in total minutes played and minutes per game. Last season, the 27 year old, suited up for all 82 games and played the third most total minutes in the league.
While Ellis isn’t a great one-on-one defender, he uses his speed to jump passing lanes well and is routinely among the lead leaders – 2.1 per game in 2012-13, good enough for fourth best in the L.
This season, Ellis will be playing for his third team in three years. After signing for the Dallas Mavericks, Ellis finally finds himself on a team without another guard who needs the ball in his hands constantly to be effective, after being stuck in backcourts with Steph Curry and Brandon Jennings in Golden State and Milwaukee.
Moving to Dallas should free Ellis of the scrutiny of whether or not he can function with another ball-dominating guard. The Mavs primary scorer, Dirk Nowitzki, doesn’t demand the ball to be effective on offense, and his ability to draw bigs out of the paint should open up lanes for Ellis to get to rim.
Ellis finally finds himself with a compatible backcourt partner in Jose Calderon. A pass-first point guard, adept at finding spot up shooters and cutters, Calderon’s passing game should compliment Ellis’ scorer’s mentality.
Despite Ellis’ assertions that he is a complete player, his game is one-dimensional. His lack of defence is why he ranks so low on this list. Without someone like Larry Sanders protecting the rim behind him, Ellis’ shortcomings on defence will be further exposed in Dallas.
While his offense should flourish given more freedom in Dallas, as it has always been for Monta Ellis, it will be what he does when he doesn’t have the ball that will be his undoing.