The Golden State Warriors have been one of the best teams in the modern era of NBA basketball, winning three championships in five Finals trips and recording the best regular-season record in history back in 2016. The core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have immortalized their name in Warriors history, as they are still trying to add a few more accolades to their names.
But before the Warriors turned around their reputation with the arrival of the “Splash Bros,” other faces were running the show in Golden State. Things would get dry in the bay after the “We Belive” Warriors, as the team didn’t have any prosperity or excitement around them. Monta Ellis was the man of the team, even though he never really established himself as a true star in the league. Still, he was the best the Warriors had, as they rode and died with Monta.
But when they struck gold with Stephen Curry in the 2009 Draft, things would slowly start to change on a positive note. Curry was getting better step by step and flashing the potential of being the leader of the team. And when they got Klay in 2011, the new backcourt was formed, and Monta was the odd-man-out. But before they would trade away Monta to Milwaukee for Bogut, the trio would have to work together. Judging by this story, it wasn’t a smooth ride.
Former Warriors assistant coach Jerry DeGregorio told a story for The Athletic about Klay showing his ice-cold mentality and confidence as a rookie, brushing off Monta Ellis’ criticism.
“His rookie season, there was a game where Klay took too many 3s for Monta Eliis’ liking… Monta Ellis just ripped into this rookie: ‘You’re taking too many shots. Pass the ball. You’re just a rook’… The very next offensive possession, ball swings, goes to Klay. He takes the first shot and makes a 3. I’m thinking, ‘This kid is an ice-cold killer’.”erry DeGregorio, The Athletic
Klay is notorious and loved in the NBA world for his laid-back, chill, and simple character, focusing solely on basketball and having fun. It’s nice to see he had that mentality since coming into the league, playing his game, and believing in that beautiful jump-shot. So when the veteran star Monta Ellis chewed him out, Klay simply responded in the only and best way, continuing to shoot. It would earn him respect from his peers and coaches.
The Warriors front office would decide to move on from Monta and build around Curry and Klay, bringing in guys like David Lee, Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and other role players, ultimately creating the force that reaped havoc on the NBA for a good chunk of the 2010s. Now, as age has caught up to the Warriors, injuries have set them back, but if they all manage to return to their old level and form this year, the Warriors could be a contender again. The Warriors will be one of the more entertaining teams to watch this season.