Monta Ellis and Dwyane Wade avert their eyes (Getty Images)
In December, Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis declared to a Milwaukee television station that the only difference between Monta and Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade was “more wins and two championship rings.” The NBA world, of course, laughed at this quite heartily, as Monta declined to point out that the massive differences between him and Wade as players were exactly what led to those “more wins and two championship rings.” Yes, D-Wade has had some pretty significant teammates to work alongside on the way to those two rings, but he outpaces Ellis in just about every conceivable area.
Monta’s reaction to that internal caveat was to point out that “Monta Ellis have it all,” a non-sequitur so hilarious that The Basketball Jones still uses it as a joke drop-in while discussing Monta’s work. Wade’s reaction? Nearly five months later, the man couldn’t be bothered. From a discussion with the Miami Herald on Tuesday:
“I looked at it and I chuckled in a sense,” Wade said in a private moment Tuesday.
“But if I’m a bar for somebody, I don’t mind that. Monta is a talented, talented guard. But obviously, I feel my game is a little bit different. I’m not just a scorer. I do everything on the floor, my whole career I’ve done it. That’s where I separate myself from others …
“[But] I look at what Kobe Bryant does. I know I need championships to be where he’s at, to even be in the category with him as a player.”
That’s about as appropriately as you can handle something like that, especially when Wade’s Heat have raced out to a 2-0 lead over Milwaukee in a dominant turn, with Wade outplaying Monta despite playing fewer minutes and working as his team’s second in command. And before you credit LeBron James for a litany of open looks and easy chances for D-Wade … stop. Dwyane isn’t Dennis Scott, catching kick-out passes from Shaquille O’Neal. He, just like Monta, has to create his own fortune.
We said just about all we needed to say about the two back in December, and there’s no point in rehashing the differences. Comparing the two, even without bringing into consideration Wade’s consistent postseason presence and two rings, would be unfair. With that in place, it was Ellis who decided to dig in a few months ago while talking to a local station and place himself on the same level as Dwyane, so he has to deal with the fallout. And while we went over all the reasons why Wade is superior in an individual sense to Monta back then, it is worth re-pointing out that Wade tops the Bucks scorer in terms of efficiency and all-around contributions by a wide margin.
And even Monta’s one possible triumph — 3-point shooting — is a detriment. Wade only shot 25.8 percent from long range this season, to Ellis’ 28.7 percent, but Ellis took nearly four times as many 3-pointers per-minute than Wade did, wasting a huge amount of possessions with bad shots for a Bucks team desperate to make the Eastern Conference playoffs.
This sort of off-kilter thinking from Ellis could lead to the Bucks guard opting out of his contract this summer, choosing to give back $11 million to test a free-agent class that will be a seller’s market once Dwight Howard and Chris Paul re-up with their respective teams. It would fall right in line with the “Monta Ellis have it all” ethos, which we admire (especially when it brings us great highlights and fantastic features on the scorer), but one that the Bucks may choose to embrace as it could clear significant cap space for a team that seems in need of a re-do.
None of this will matter in a few days, as the Bucks head back to Milwaukee to possibly extend the series to five games and sustain the season. Credit both Wade (and Ellis, to an extent, for ignoring the backlash) for handling this like professionals. And Monta, as always, for having it all.
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