OAKLAND There is little question that Monta Ellis is thebest player on the Warriors. And even if you question that, youre likely to atleast acknowledge that nobody on the Warriors is playing better or doing anymore than Ellis right now.In fact, hes playing so well and doing so much that itsfair to ask whether or not his teammates are doing enough to help him. Ellis isa team captain and hes also being called a leader.So, the line of questioning in interviews on Monday withEllis and coach Mark Jackson was whether or not Ellis should be calling outor demanding more from his teammates.Here are the exchanges
Question: As a leader and captain of thisteam, would you ever address a teammate or certain players and say I need somehelp. Somebodys got to step up and help me, especially in the fourthquarter?Monta Ellis: No. Weve been in the gamesin the fourth quarter. The plays were not making are careless turnovers likethe one I made last game (vs. Utah). Its going to happen. We just cant beatourselves up with it. Ive got great teammates who can make plays.Its just come down to the other teams made more plays thanwe did. Its a learning experience. We watch film, try to correct it and getready for the next game.Question: Sometimes players such as KobeBryant or LeBron James or Kevin Garnett will say something. Kobe will say toAndrew Bynum, for example, I need more out of you. LeBron might say You needto step it up. Have you ever done that or do you feel like thats the coachsrole?Monta Ellis: With us, we watch film, webring points out on film. Its not me to criticize my teammates. They get awaywith it, they do what they do, thats LeBron and thats Kobe. Thats how theydeal with their team and their situation.We deal with our team different over here. Were going tocontinue to do what we do. The guys that messed up or need to step up they knowwhat they need to do and we go at it that way. Ill never bash my teammates inthe paper, go at them sideways like that. Im going to lift them up more thananything.Question: Have you ever done itprivately?Monta Ellis: No.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Question: Would it be within Monta Ellisdomain or purview to demand his teammates one or a couple of guys to step up and give him some help?Mark Jackson: They are. Hes doing agreat job. Hes averaging 8.5 assists for a reason -- guys are finishing plays.Theyve done the job. Weve put ourselves in position to win ballgames. Demandingguys step up is securing the basketball and getting stops, executing fastbreakswhen you have numbers down the stretch, paying attention to details defensivelyto close out ballgames.That is every bit as important as other guys stepping up. Soacross the board weve got to do a better job.Question: But would you be OK with himdoing it with Monta Ellis either addressing a teammate privately or publiclyand saying I need more out of you.?Mark Jackson: Hes done everything Iveasked him to do. Hes been an incredible leader. What I love about him most is heholds himself to a standard. So the first thing hes thinking (Saturday night) isIve got to make that shot.Second thing hes thinking is Ive should have goneearlier. Its I, its me, its my fault. We were in position to win theballgame. Real leaders, real great players own up to their part of theresponsibility and thats why I love him.Question: Great players sometimes Kobe,Garnett theyve been known to light fires under teammates and tell thoseteammates they need to step up or they need to help.Mark Jackson: Hes done everything,including that.Question: It seems like that doesnt comenaturally to him.Mark Jackson: It comes natural. It comes natural. The guy I know it comes natural. Hesbeen an incredible leader on this basketball team. Whatever he sees he speaks outagainst it. He challenges guys, challenges himself. Hes been as good a leaderas Ive seen.