Now that the long awaited 2011-12 NBA season is in full swing, it is time for me to make a seemingly bold declaration, however it is not so far fetched when you take a gander at the facts.
The Golden State Warriors and shooting guard Monta Ellis are the most underrated team and player in the NBA respectivally.
Back in 2005, Ellis was bestowed the honor of being named the Parade Magazine High School Player of the Year out of Lanier High School in Mississippi along with Greg Oden, and committed to play college basketball for Mississippi State University before opting to enter the 2005 NBA Draft. Ellis was selected by the Warriors with the 40th overall selection in that draft, a moment which began an excellent, yet still underappreciated career.
Today, Ellis enjoys the distinction of being part of the highest scoring backcourt in the NBA, with Stephen Curry serving as the other half of the potent Warriors tandem.
Last season, Ellis averaged 24.1 PPG, a career high 5.6 APG for the swingman, and 3.4 RPG. He is off to a similar start this season, averaging 20.5 PPG, a stellar 7.5 APG, and an even 3 RPG. Offensively, he is one of the best shooting guards in the NBA as he can make seemingly every shot on the floor, and when needed he can run the Golden State offense.
Ellis is overshadowed by Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, et cetera because of him playing in the small market that is Oakland, however I consider him to be one of the top shooting guards in the NBA, the most underrated player in the league, as well as a possible NBA MVP candidate.
The same song looks to repeat itself when discussing the Golden State Warriors team as a whole, as despite the team boasting the most electric guard tandem in the NBA in the aaforementioned Curry and Ellis, a three point sharpshooter in Dorell Wright, rebounding specialist Andris Biedrins, among many others, the Warriors do not receive their deserved respect throughout the entire NBA.
In fact, the Warriors are one of the best offensive teams in the NBA in terms of points per game.
The one thing that the young and scrappy squad is lacking is talent on the defensive side of the ball. However, the Warriors hired a defensive minded head coach in Mark Jackson and have the money to make roster moves to possibly acquire a defensive upgrade player via either trade, free agency, or possibly even the NBA Developmental League.
Frankly, if the Golden State Warriors could acquire some defensive pieces, the team has the talent to possibly earn a 4 or 5 seed in the Western Conference.