Is Monta Ellis the Solution?

In case you have been living under a rock, we all know that Golden State shooting guard Monta Ellis is on trading block. Teams from the Magic to the Celtics have shown interest in the dynamic scorer. With averages of 22 ppg and 6 apg Monta is having statistically his third best season of his career. Rumors have been swirling about a potential trade involving Ellis going to Minnesota in a deal centered around forward Michael Beasley. To most people this trade makes a lot of sense for both teams. Minnesota gets a high scoring shooting guard it has never had and rookie Derrick Williams would begin to see a lot more playing time in Beasley's absence. Golden State would clear up a log jam at guard. This would allow Stephen Curry to stay at point and increase playing time for rookie guard Klay Thompson. The Warriors also get a dynamic scoring forward to pair with big man David Lee down low.



This seems like a no-brainer for Minnesota fans, but there needs to be further analysis done in order to ensure this is the best thing for the Wolves to do. I will be comparing Ellis to two other shooting guards the team has inquired about. The guards are O.J. Mayo of Memphis and James Harden of Oklahoma City

Adjusted Field Goal Percentage: John Cregan of ESPN provides this very useful explanation of AFG:

"What you need to look at is adjusted field goal percentage (also known as ADJ FG%), which is a simple but illuminating stat. All it does is factor in the amount of points accrued per field goal attempt, thereby underscoring which players are helping and hurting from behind the arc. To use's example nearly verbatim: If Shaquille O'Neal makes 3 of 5 field goal attempts, all 2-pointers, for six points, his ADJ FG% (six points on five attempts) is .600. Meanwhile, if Ray Allen is 2-for-5 shooting, but both field goals are 3-pointers, his ADJ FG% (six points on five attempts) is also .600."

Monta Ellis: 46%

O.J. Mayo: 48%

James Harden: 56%

What these percentages show is that Harden gets the most bang for the buck when shooting. While both Harden and Mayo are shooting 36.5% from 3-Point range this year this means that Harden is shooting better at 2-Point Field Goals (56.3% vs. Mayo's 44.2%). Going back to Ellis who is shooting a relatively poor 29.6% from beyond the arc, he also shoots 46.7% from 2 point shots. For those who don't fully understand quite yet, this means that Ellis needs the most shots out of the three players in order to reach the same amount of points based on this year's performance. Ellis has also attempted the second most 3-Pointers (135) out of players shooting below 30% on the season. Kobe Bryant has the most with 169.

Summary: While Ellis does score in bunches he takes too many shots in order to do so. This would take shots away from more effective players like Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic.

Free Throw Shooting:

Ellis: 5.4 FTA/Game, 82% Shooting, 37.2 MPG

Mayo: 2.1FTA/Game, 71% Shooting, 26.2 MPG

Harden: 6.3 FTA/Game, 85% Shooting, 31.8 MPG

I am making this important because if the team is to trade Beasley (63% from the stripe), it would be nice to receive a player who can consistently make free throws. What's also scary is Derrick Williams also shoots 63% from the line, and this is the guy in line to replace Beasley.

It's pretty easy to analyze this set of data as all the stats are simpler to break down. Mayo clearly gets the short end of the stick here as he gets to the line the fewest and has the worst shooting percentage of the group. Meanwhile, Monta averages a decent 5.4 attempts per game in his approximately 3 full quarters of play. When we shift over to Harden it's easy to see he is more effective at getting to the line, and also converts a higher percentage of his free throws. We all know the easiest points to score are where they give you the shots for free, thus free throws. If one were to argue based on this data it would be reasonable for the team to acquire Ellis.

Summary: Ellis can get to the line and knock down the shots, but Harden proves more efficient doing so.

Possession Creation Efficiency: I'm going to be completely honest, but I am creating this stat for the hell of it. My equation is simple though. This stat involves per game averages of assists, steals, turnovers, fouls. What I am attempting to show is how efficient players are at ball handling, creating shots for others, ending defensive possessions, and wasting offensive possessions. It's also a measure of how much a player is capable is at creating good offensive turnouts. We all know an assist means you made a pass that led to the score. A steal ends a defensive possession by ending their opportunity to score while creating a new offensive opportunity. We all know a turnover does the exact opposite, and a foul only either resets the opportunity or gives them a shot at the free throw line.

The equation goes as follows:

PE = (APG + SPG) / (TOPG + FPG)

This is pretty simple for now, but I believe this could be turned into something major with a few changes. We have the potential to create a good statistic that could measure how good a guard is at creating offense.

Ellis: (5.8apg + 1.42spg) / (3.3topg + 2.3fpg) = 1.29 PE

Mayo: (2apg + 1.06spg) / (1.6topg + 2.0fpg) = .85 PE

Harden: (3.7apg + .94spg) / (2.1topg + 2.6fpg) = .99 PE

So what exactly does this mean? For Monta Ellis this is good. It means that he creates more good possessions than bad ones. This means that for roughly every 5 good possessions Ellis creates, he is also responsible for about 4 bad ones. So for every combination of 5 assists or steals, he also has a combination of 4 fouls or turnovers. In the case of James Harden he pretty much trades off the creation one good possession for a bad one. O.J. Mayo again comes in last as he does more harm than good.

This stat could mean the difference of winning or losing by only a few points.

I could take more time to talk about the stat, but I will save this for a later article.

Now on to the summary: Monta Ellis does more good than bad than the others when it comes to taking care of the ball and creating offense.

Based on the small sample of stats we have you could very easily argue for Ellis coming to Minnesota. I personally prefer Harden because he is a more efficient scorer than Ellis, and he has more potential than Ellis does in addition to being a few years younger as well. Lastly, I wouldn't expect James Harden to pull the kind of stunt Scooty Puff Junior did a few years back.

Note: If anyone would like to discuss this newer statistic please comment below or message me.

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