Tuesday , Jun , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Warriors Top Assistant on Curry-Ellis backcourt: Are they willing to defend?

Without major roster changes in Oakland, Warriors’ new lead assistant coach Mike Malone will be working with two guards who haven’t consistently proved willing or able to stop dribble penetration, a center who hasn’t shown up for the past two seasons and little depth. "Can you play defense with two small guards? It’s a very interesting question, and I don’t have a definite answer," Malone said. "Can they defend? Are they willing to defend? It could be hard to break those habits, but, if they want to win, they’ll be willing."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Golden State Warriors have confirmed what we suspected. They aren’t sure if Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis have the size to defend opposing backcourts.

No doubt about it, Curry and Ellis can play. They are dynamic. They are athletic. They are special. But they are small to play together.

This sentiment is nothing new. Two years ago, Ellis welcomed Curry to his first training camp by telling reporters he felt they couldn’t form a backcourt.

New Warriors owner Joe Lacob has reservations about Ellis. Rookie coach Mark Jackson has publicly praised Ellis, while dangling him in front of the Orlando Magic as trade bait.

Today, lead assistant Mike Malone, who is in charge of defense, told the media he has concerns about Curry and Ellis’ commitment to defense.

This is the greatest sign change is coming. After all, the Warriors have shopped Ellis, which led to his agent requesting a trade.

Remember, Malone was hired to re-shape the soft Warriors into a tougher, more defensive-minded group. If he has doubts, then Jackson, his boss, has doubts.

Those doubts will likely lead to Ellis having a new home. And soon.

–Oly Sandor.

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