There has been disappointment about Andrew Bogut, and with good reason. He has been a presence on the Warriors in the sense of mostly being an absence. And now, in addition to his bum ankle, he has a bad back and he has a doctor's note for more absences. If he were a student, you'd call him a truant.
Bogut's status — call it non-status — raises a question. Did the Warriors blow it March 13 when they traded Monta Ellis for Bogut? Other players were involved, but Ellis and Bogut were the crux of the issue.
There's another way to phrase the question. Would you prefer the Warriors never had made that dramatic trade?
If you answered yes, if you prefer the Warriors did not make that trade, you need to look at the NBA standings where the Warriors, who finished third from the bottom in the Western Conference last season, are currently in sixth place. The Ellis-for-Bogut trade was a winner even though Bogut has missed a ton of games, even though, for a while, he was playing every other game — admittedly, a peculiar arrangement — even though he has a bulging disk which could keep him out a while.
How can this be? You trade your best player for essentially no player and it's still a good deal?
Let's start by saying life can be very strange. But something so vague won't satisfy you. How about this?
The Warriors benefited tremendously by getting rid of Monta Ellis. Understand, this is not a bash-Monta column. He was a hard-working, popular Warrior and he is a good player. But he was all wrong for the Warriors.
He and Stephen Curry did not play well together in the backcourt. They also did not defend well as a unit. Someone had to go. And Curry is the better player. That's obvious.
Before the Warriors traded Ellis, they were a few games under .500. That means they were Nowheresville. Ellis' heroic efforts elevated them to the Land of the Mediocre. After the Warriors traded Ellis, they lost 22 of 27 games, really tanked — although "tanked" is a loaded word — and entered the Land of the Miserable, and finished with an unspeakable 23-43 record.
The result? They moved up in the draft and were able to select Harrison Barnes. Call that a net plus.
If the Warriors still had Ellis, they could not have signed Jarrett Jack. They would have been paying too much for their backcourt, and the backcourt would have been crowded. Jack will be the Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA or the voters are absolutely crackers.
And Jack is a point guard, a very good point guard, something Ellis really isn't. Ellis is a 2 guard in a point guard's body, and that's not good. Having Jack and Klay Thompson sharing time in the backcourt is better than having Ellis in the backcourt. It's not even close.
Ellis never could defend against good shooting guards. How many times did you see Kobe Bryant diddle around for three quarters, then take Ellis apart in the fourth quarter for an easy Lakers' win? It wasn't Ellis' fault. He tried hard but he's a shrimp by NBA standards or, if you prefer, a giant prawn.