» Blog Archive » Monta ‘chomping at the bit’ to get back, Nelson says
  • Jan

    By Geoff Lepper

    OAKLAND — Get ready for the Monta Ellis Watch to kick into high gear.

    Warriors coach Don Nelson said Tuesday that Ellis is “chomping at the bit” to get back on the court with his teammates, and that the fourth-year guard would have been playing weeks ago if it were up to him alone. Ellis has missed the season’s initial 36 games while recovering from an ankle injury incurred while riding a moped during the summer in violation of his freshly minted six-year, $66 million contract.

    “He wants to play, and we’re being very conservative with him. But he’s getting close to having a practice,” Nelson said. “He feels he’s ready. And I think you treat the patient; the patient is the guy who knows more than anybody, but we want to make a good decision here and not hurry him back too fast. . . .

    “If we’d have rushed him back, he’d have been playing two weeks ago, because he wanted to play. But we felt that we better be conservative.”

    The Warriors could especially use Ellis right about now, since swingman Stephen Jackson will be out for the foreseeable future with a strained right hamstring, which he hurt just prior to halftime of the Warriors’ 119-114 loss to the Jazz on Monday. A team spokesman told the San Francisco Chronicle that Jackson will miss two weeks at a minimum.

    On the other hand. . .
    One guy who doesn’t think an Ellis return is imminent — unless it’s to boost his trade stock — is Tim Kawakami, who had this to say (among other things) on the subject:

    Ellis is working to get back healthy, but he is not happy with the Warriors, it’s getting worse, and he definitely is not pleased about rejoining a Warriors universe that is ruled by Don Nelson and Robert Rowell.

    It’s no surprise that Ellis would be angry with Rowell, the team president who overruled Chris Mullin and whacked Ellis with a very, very hefty 30-game suspension (essentially, a $2.97 million fine). Add in the fact that Rowell still wants to hold the threat of voiding Ellis’ deal over the youngster’s head and it becomes even more believable.

    I’m not sure what specific problem Ellis has with Nelson, however. Tim refers to Ellis being “mishandled” by the coach, but it was Mike Montgomery who derided the then-rookie’s point-guard skills while chaining him to the bench in 2005-06. Nelson came in the following August, played Ellis 34.3 minutes per game as a sophomore in ’06-’07 and last season gave him pretty much carte blanche to do whatever he wanted with the ball.

    Was Nelson harsh on Ellis at times in the media, especially in saying he’d never make it in this league unless it was as a point guard? Yes. But if that’s the impetus for Ellis wanting to get out of Oakland, he needs to take a number, because there are at least four guys I can think of off the top of my head who have suffered much tougher criticism from Nelson.

    Randolph practices well, but no end to banishment in sight
    Nelson said that rookie forward Anthony Randolph had his third consecutive solid practice, although that’s not going to be enough to get him out of the deep freeze in terms of playing in games.

    “He’s approaching this the right way,” Nelson said. “I think we got his attention. And he’ll develop faster when he has good practices.”

    Assistant coach Keith Smart, one of the people Nelson has tasked with determining when Randolph might be ready for parole, went even farther:

    “Three (good days) is not enough. You’ve got to get it to where he’s in here, working in the morning prior to regular practice. . . . That’s not enough to warrant, ‘OK, you’re ready.’ You’ve had three days now. Let’s shoot for 14, 21, maybe 30, I don’t know. Because there’s a lot of other things he has to work on: footwork, passing the ball to people, what he sees. There’s a lot of basketball that he has to learn.”

    The Lineup Project
    My story out of the Utah game is widening in scope and may take a few days to hammer out, so I’ll just fit this in here in the meantime.

    Lineup data, Golden State game 36: Jazz 119, Warriors 114

    Power forward Jermareo Davidson, signed to a 10-day contract on Monday, fared well in his first practice, although Nelson said “I wouldn’t think that we’d play him in an NBA game yet.” Davidson showed off a serviceable mid-range jumper on a couple of occasions, and used his 7-4 wingspan to impressively block one of Brandan Wright’s jump hooks, a shot that is usually safely out of reach of defenders. . . . Corey Maggette practiced with a small brace on his right knee, which was tweaked when he crashed into a basket stanchion on Monday, but took an early leave as a precautionary measure. Despite the mishap, Maggette’s sore hamstring responded well to his first game back in a month, Nelson said. . . . Kelenna Azubuike did some individual work after several days of dealing with the flu but looked “weak,” in Nelson’s opinion. . . . Funny NBA travel story of the week: The team plane was held on the tarmac in Minneapolis for two hours because of icy conditions, a fact that a few Warriors didn’t realize, according to Jamal Crawford: “Some guys went to sleep and when they woke up, they thought we were in Utah.”

    Contact: geofflepper@hotmail.com

17 Responses to “Monta ‘chomping at the bit’ to get back, Nelson says”

  1. Thanks for addressing TK’s blog post because as a Warrior fan, I’m really confused about what’s going on the Warriors locker room.

    Is this a team ready to implode from the coach all the way down to the front office like TK and other columnists seem to surmise about this team right now? Or is this team just bad and in transition to a Don Nelson/Larry Riley/Robert Rowell take over.

    As a Warrior fan, I really don’t give a damn who is in charge whether it’s Rowell, Mullin or Nelson. I just want to see that this team has a plan to get better because more than anything the lack of direction surrounding this this team is disturbing.

  2. Thanks for the updates. LOL@plane troubles, thats some funny stuff.

  3. Geoff,

    If I could gather enough Warrior fans to chip into a charity pot instead of buying tickets, would you agree to fight Tim Kawakami in a bare knuckle fight?

    All proceeds go to the charity or pockets of the winner.

    Everyone wins:
    - Taking money out of Rowell’s pockets
    - Inflicting damage on Tim kawakami’s person
    - Massive entertainment
    - Fodder for Bill Simmons/The Sports Guy

    That said, watching Ellis return might be the only thing worth waiting for this season

  4. seriously thanks! kawakami and steinmetzs blogs are gonna send me to an early grave. . .

  5. Off topic:

    Congrats for finally getting a viewable theme. The old one was mhm “not so cool”.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Thanks for your reporting. I love the line up project but what Warriors fans really need is a Kawakami Meter. Going from “A Leap: But somewhat based on Fact” to “Pulled Out of his Ass” to “Full Skip Bayless Mode: Too much Mountain Dew / Jerry Springer of Sports Mode”

    I think you could actually pull something like that off on the blog. Maybe call it a daily rumor meter. I can’t remember the last time I heard so many soap opera stories about a team (not your work). You and Steinmetz seem to do this anyway might as well make it comical. Actually a panel of you, Matt and maybe Janny? Voting on validity of each crazy rumor would be hilarious! Please take this idea and run with it! As a Warrior fans “We…really do Believe” everything.”

  7. Let me say this about Tim’s story, since people are reacting as though I’m trying to knock it down:

    I’m not claiming that Tim has it wrong. I don’t know one way or the other.

    All I’m saying is that if Monta is, in fact, pissed off at Nelson, then he’s way off-base, IMHO. Angry at Rowell? Sure, understandable. But Nelson has done nothing but help him get $66 million richer by allowing him to run free the last two years.

    The list of guys who should be looking to get free of Nelson has Randolph, Wright and Marcus Williams at the top.

  8. ‘Round the drain it goes…

  9. Nice new layout Geoff.

  10. Kamikaze is just bummed that there’s no more Raider season to trash on… has to keep his name relevant somehow. By posting that bogus Acie Law rumor (we tried to trade for ATL’s pick pre-draft to nab Thornton), he outed himself…

    None of his article makes sense beyond wild speculation…

  11. David and Tre: That’s all thanks to my friend Tam, so give her all the credit.

  12. Actually - that trade to the Hawks was floated during ‘06 draft by several local papers but it was for the #11 pick- not specifically Law. Monta had just come off a not so great playoff run and Nellie was opting to play Barnes and Petruis more than him. He also didnt really think that Ellis could back up BD at the point.
    Regardless- I agree that if Monta has a beef about anything, it’s Rowell’s mind games and the fact that the team is awful and totally unbalanced right now. After years of this crap- a Blazers mini plan and some frequent flyer miles up north is looking better and better each day.

  13. Geoff — I would prefer to see fact rather than opinion about unattributed nonsense from a non-credible guy like Kawakami. I think you undermine your own credibility by commenting on his unsubstantiated rumor. How about checking with your own sources? If you found nothing, tell us that. If you found something, tell us that.

  14. Nah, Kawakami has made himself into a public punching bag. He wants attention, nobody needs to complain on his behalf.

    It wasn’t like Geoff’s tone was petty or childish, it was pretty straightforward. Fair comment.

  15. I really don’t disagree with Tim. What he brings up could be a legitimate possibility, but that’s the problem with the Warriors right now. It seems like nobody in management knows what the plan is or they don’t articulate it very well to the fans? And maybe the sports writers have trouble figuring out what’s going on?

    All that seems to speak to something going on at the top because this team is frustrating because the Warriors seem to have no clue what their long term or even short term goals are. Maggette, the Randolph situation and Marcus Williams speak to that really well.

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