Ranking the Top 5 Most High-Risk, High-Reward NBA Players

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3. Monta Ellis, Milwaukee Bucks

Apr 28, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis (right) drives for the basket against Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (eft) in game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

It seems fitting that this former Golden State Warriors guard ends up on this list.  He’s highly skilled, can shoot at a high clip from anywhere on the floor (including from behind the arc) and seems to at times be the go-to guy for a team to drop the weight of a game on his shoulders. He has superb finishing ability around the rim on the drive. He’s an offensive force to be reckoned with, and he gave fans at Oracle something to cheer for in darker seasons past before he was traded for the acquisition of center Andrew Bogut. He’s been a great starter for Milwaukee in the short time he’s spent with them so far.

That’s just the “reward” part, though. Now we get to the risks.

First off, his defense. His offense is great, but his defensive skill set leaves more than just something to be desired.  Carrying a team doesn’t typically go that well if you’re allowing your man to score almost at will on you.

The real risk here, though, is consistency and play style. He’s a notorious ball hog. That’s great when he’s making shots, but the problem is that when he goes cold, the shots don’t stop. He’s not a player to defer to a teammate and acknowledge that his attempts aren’t going.  This is just one big part of why the Warriors’ front office decided that he and Stephen Curry couldn’t exist and flourish in the same backcourt. He’s a rewarding player, but he brings risk to match.