When people talk about the Warriors backcourt of StephenCurry and Monta Ellis and whether they can play together and succeed mostof the focus centers on their defense.Those that dont believe the Warriors can go anywhere withthat backcourt usually cite its smallish-ness and how that lack of size is toomuch of a deficiency to overcome.By and large, few talk about Curry and Ellis at theoffensive end, with the common belief being they form an explosive, dynamic andpotent scoring duo.For the most part, they score a lot, they assist a lot and thatsabout as far is it goes. Clearly when Mark Jackson called Curry and Ellis thebest backcourt in the business on Saturday he was mostly thinking about themat the offensive end.
Look, its easy to pile on after the Warriors blew a20-point lead on Monday night to the Memphis Grizzlies, but its also true thatthe collapse provided a glimpse of the offensive limitations of thatduo.RECAP: Warriors self-destruct in 4th, fall to Grizzlies 91-90
Do Curry and Ellis make each other better at the offensiveend? Do they make other teammates better? In short, do Curry and Ellis reallycomplement each other? Is either one of them a strong and sound decision-maker?Do Curry and Ellis form a heady backcourt, one that consistentlymakes the right play? Are Curry and Ellis consistently smart with thebasketball and understand time and circumstance?The bottom line is that if youre going to live with some ofthe CurryEllis defensive deficiencies then they have to be much better thanthey have been at the offensive end. Much better.Curry and Ellis have to have a much better combinedassist-to-turnover ratio than they do. Right now they average 12 assists andnearly eight turnovers a game between them.Thats not a strength, thats a liability.The other thing that stood out in the loss to Memphis wasthe inability of either Curry or Ellis to get to the foul line when itmattered. Many times, when a team is struggling at the offensive end, one ofthe guards can create something on his own, make something happen and at theleast get to the line to get some easy points.Curry hasnt taken a foul shot in the past two games. Ellishas taken six free throws in the past two games. That tells you that theyresettling for outside shots or theyre not getting it done in terms of drawing contacton drives.Curry and Ellis put up numbers, no doubt about it.But intangibles are a huge part of a guards game likerecognizing important possessions and knowing when you have to get good shots,like figuring out ways to get David Lee more than two shots and Dorell Wrightmore than none, like not continually turning the ball over at the top of thefloor, leading to fastbreak buckets, like making sure to get your team intosets as early as possible in the clock. And many, many more.Conventional wisdom suggests that if the Warriors keep thebackcourt of Curry and Ellis together, theyre going to have to find a way toget better at the defensive end of the floor. That is true.But they also have a long way to go at the offensive end,too.