Monta Ellis was a fan-favorite on the Golden State Warriors, with whom he spent his first seven NBA seasons, but he wasn’t exactly satisfied with the team.
His supposed rift with coach Don Nelson and reluctance to play alongside another small guard in Stephen Curry have been well-documented, but there was also another underlying issue: having to baby-sit the youngsters.
After the departure of many veterans on the “We Believe” squad — Jason Richardson, Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Matt Barnes — Ellis was left as the leader of the team, but he was still young and immature.
Not surprisingly, he didn’t like that.
In an interview with the Star-Telegram, Ellis spoke candidly about his years in Golden State.
“With me being a young guy and I had to try to teach the other young (Golden State) guys — and half of them didn’t want to listen — it’s very frustrating,” he said.
This sharply contrasts with his current situation with the Mavericks, where he has plenty of veterans to rely on, including future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki.
“It’s just that we have a lot of veteran guys on this team that understand the game of basketball,” Ellis told the Star Telegram.
“Coming here (to the Mavs) where it’s a lot of veteran guys who understand the game, you don’t have to do much teaching,” he continued. “The only thing you have to do is police one another and go out and play for one another.”
Ellis was dealt in March of 2012 to the Bucks in a highly-criticized trade that sent Andrew Bogut to the Warriors. As it turned out, the Warriors won that deal by a landslide. Bogut is an integral part of the Warriors’ defense and has proven his value, while Ellis never gelled in Milwaukee and bolted for the Mavericks last offseason.
He wasn’t happy in Milwaukee, and at times he wasn’t happy in Golden State, but he says he is in a good place now.
“I have grown a lot, meaning I cherish my great years that I had over at Golden State,” Ellis said via the Star-Telegram. “The bad [years] that I had — it took me so far into a deep hole that at some point basketball — it wasn’t even basketball to me. It was more of a business.
“But being away and coming here really brought joy back to me to want to enjoy the game and love to be in the gym and work and want to get better.”