HIGHLIGHTS: Warriors come out flat in Chicago
|View All Players | Last updated Dec. 18, 2:12 A.M. ET|
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Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob stood on the floor of Oracle Arena last March and endured the boos and heckling from an irritated slice of his franchise’s fans.
The taunts came just a week after those fans had their adored star stripped away from their losing team. Lacob couldn’t help but hear their frustration.
Before Stephen Curry was snubbed for an All-Star team, Monta Ellis was the team’s beloved snub.
Ellis was the Warriors’ bright spot on a team that had its last winning finish in 2007-08, the 48-win, no postseason campaign that followed the “We Believe” playoff run.
Tonight in Milwaukee, the Warriors will revisit their former star, who in six-and-a-half seasons with the Warriors averaged 19.6 points and 3.7 assists.
The franchise, after drafting Curry out of Davidson in 2009 in the hopes of a dynamic backcourt, was eventually forced to realize that its smaller guards weren’t winning.
One of the two had to go, and Ellis was the odd man out.
When he was traded to Milwaukee on March 13 of last season, the Warriors had a 17-21 record following their three consecutive losing seasons.
Ellis, in his first game with the Bucks days following the trade, played in Oakland and scored 18 points to help Milwaukee win on the road. The Warriors continued to lose with an injured roster while Ellis and the Bucks finished 12-11 the rest of the lockout-shortened season.
The deal sent Ellis and Ekpe Udoh to the Bucks in exchange for Andrew Bogut, who has played in just four games for the Warriors.
Call it addition by subtraction, as the Warriors, off to their best start since the early '90s, have been better without Ellis.
The dynamic scoring guard simply wasn’t part of this congenial chemistry of the current Warriors team.
Ellis, now playing alongside point guard Brandon Jennings, is shooting the lowest field-goal percentage of his career at 40.4 percent. He's also shooting 23.7 percent from three-point range.
Klay Thompson, the second year shooting guard for Golden State, is averaging 16 points at 41 percent shooting and 38.9 percent from three-point range. Thompson is averaging 14 shots per game while Ellis is averaging 17.5 per game.
The other return from the Bucks in exchange for Ellis was former Warrior Stephen Jackson. After acquiring Jackson from Milwaukee, Golden State then sent him to the San Antonio Spurs for a conditional first-round pick and Richard Jefferson.
That conditional first-round pick from the Spurs was used to draft rookie center Festus Ezeli with the 30th selection in the first round. Ezeli has been a tremendous value with Bogut out, starting in 37 games for the Warriors.
Bogut’s return date is still unknown while rehabbing his injured ankle.
Meanwhile, Ellis is averaging 18.8 points and 5.5 assists for the Bucks, seventh in the Eastern Conference at 22-19.
Still, no one can argue that the trade didn’t make sense. And Lacob isn’t likely to be booed if he takes center court this season.