Commentary

Five lottery-to-playoffs acquisitions

Key deals by Warriors, Clippers and Nets could land them in the postseason

Updated: July 19, 2011, 5:18 PM ET
By Kevin Pelton | Basketball Prospectus
Monta Ellis Rocky Widner/Getty ImagesMonta Ellis' size is an issue, given that he plays alongside Stephen Curry for the Warriors.

Already this offseason, ESPN Insider has looked at NBA teams that could make a leap forward next year and those headed downward in the standings. Now we're considering the issue from a different perspective. What moves might teams make -- or not make -- that could cause them to head one direction or the other? After looking at possible scenarios that could spell trouble for five teams on Monday, we take the optimistic perspective with teams that could make moves to improve.


Golden State Warriors: Moving Monta Ellis for a bigger player

Concerns that Ellis and Stephen Curry could not share the basketball have proven unfounded. With Curry serving more as a traditional point guard but Ellis sharing ballhandling duties, the Warriors have been solid offensively the last two seasons.

So why should Golden State break up the duo? Because the backcourt can't stop anyone, and Ellis' stature is a big reason why. Ideally, Ellis would be paired with a bigger guard who could take on some of the more difficult defensive assignments. Instead, playing with Curry forces Ellis to be the team's defensive stopper at guard, a task to which he is not equal.