Golden State Warriors: 15 greatest draft steals in franchise history

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors
Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Lanier HS (MS), 2005 (No. 40). Monta Ellis. 15. player. 41. . SG

Ah, yes the 2005 NBA Draft, a class that featured draft busts and underachievers such as Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Martell Webster, Charlie Villanueva, Channing Frye and Andrew Bynum, and those were just among the top-10.

Much like every team not named the New Orleans Hornets — who took future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul with the fourth overall pick — the Warriors wasted their first-round pick on Arizona State forward Ike Diogu.

The Buffalo native was a solid rotational contributor, posting a 16.3 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and .125 win shares per 48 minutes (WS/48) in limited action, but the Warriors had to have expected more from the ninth overall pick.

The second round, however, sowed more fruitful results. While the true steal of this round a was two-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year in Lou Williams, the Warriors also found themselves a twitchy high-volume scorer of their own in the form of Monta Ellis.

Taken 40th overall out of high school, Ellis spent his first seven NBA seasons with the Dubs, where he became a fan favorite. Given his highlight-friendly playing style, it wasn’t hard to see why: Ellis possessed an explosive first step with an ability to finish at the rim with either hand, leading to plenty of GIF-worthy moments.

However, Ellis’ game wasn’t conducive to the evolving NBA game. Advanced stats never viewed his production in a favorable light, despite averaging 19.6 points per game. He wasn’t a great defender, nor much of a facilitator on offense and that combined with his proclivity to settle for long 2-pointers spelled the end for him in the Bay Area.

The team opted to move forward with backcourt mate Stephen Curry over Ellis and that decision ultimately proved to be a smart one. Still, the Warriors got a lot more value out of Ellis than most teams do with their second-round picks.