On Saturday, in the hours before his Milwaukee Bucks downed the Miami Heat in a nicely-tuned home win, Bucks guard Monta Ellis seemed curiously out of tune. When asked to compare himself to Dwyane Wade – the player that notched 24 points on 10-19 shooting later that night to Ellis’ 14 points on 6-18 shooting – Monta offered this answer:
This is what happens when you sit down for an interview with a local TV crew on a Saturday in December between two holidays, probably thinking that none of this will ever get out. At least, that’s what we hope from Monta when he points out that the only difference between him and Dwyane Wade is “more wins and two championship rings,” a pittance of course, before declaring that “Monta Ellis have it all.”
Surprisingly, though it hasn’t been the most consistent take, I’ve read some internet reaction that just about sides with Ellis. Pointing out that while his career’s work isn’t nearly on par with what Wade has contributed (he was a little-used rookie during Wade’s dominant and championship 2005-06 turn, after all), D-Wade’s declining health and Ellis’ potent scoring ways have evened the score some seven years later.
Which is an absolute joke, of course.
Even at age 27, afforded plenty of opportunities as he attempts to carry a lacking Milwaukee Bucks offense, Ellis is still a full step behind Wade even as Dwyane works his way through a frustrating and injury-hamstrung season. It’s true that Ellis is just half a point per game behind the Miami Heat superstar, but Monta is shooting 40.5 percent to Dwyane’s 51.4 percent. Wade’s scoring more while playing three fewer minutes a night, as well, while declining to take the three-pointers that both struggle to hit. Ellis averages 3.4 bombs per 36 minutes despite his 26 percent mark from long range, while Wade only takes one attempt during that particular span because of his sub-standard 31.8 mark.
Remember, this is Wade during a relative lull. By all accounts not himself as he recovers from offseason knee surgery, working at times as a second and third fiddle in Miami’s offense.
Monta is the fiddle in Milwaukee’s attack, in spite of Brandon Jennings’ presence. While that sort of pressure can lead to inefficient marks and a whole lot of frustration, it can also mean plenty of nice stats and at the very least good per-minute marks. Monta isn’t there yet. Heck, he’s never been there yet. He’s only shot over 50 percent once in his career, that remarkable 2007-08 season, and has never shot above the current NBA three-point average from long range. Thus, there’s no “outside” to his “inside, outside” claim.
This is where we straddle that tricky line. The one that tells us that we want our athletes to be not only hyper-competitive, but also confident as they line up against the NBA’s best – as Ellis did against Wade on Saturday. Teams also want their fans to know that they’ve got a Dwyane Wade of their own currently working out of Milwaukee in Monta Ellis. Something to warm Bucks fans through a cold winter, especially knowing that Wade led his Marquette team to the Final Four in 2003 working on the same court that Ellis currently lopes up and down on.
This is over the top, though. If Ellis doesn’t know what makes Wade so great, and what makes his production and contributions so profound, then this is a worrying thing as Monta works through his eighth NBA season.
In the literal sense, claiming that more wins and two rings separate Monta Ellis and Dwyane Wade is correct. In every other way, though, this is a bit of a joke.