Two years ago Monta Ellis slipped down the draft board and everyone had practically forgotten all about him then.
However, now the NBA knows all about this young guard from the Golden State Warriors. He has been awarded the Most Improved Player for changing from an unrecognised high schooler from Mississippi to a fast and quick scoring threat for the Warriors.
This was the closest voting in the history of the award. Ellis won is by a slim margin of three points over Sacramento Kings’ Kevin Martin. Ellis received 47 votes and 352 points from the media panel while Martin received 44 votes and 349 points.
This season under the new coach Don Nelson, Ellis averaged 16.5 points, 4.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds. He was part of the team that was instrumental in getting the Warriors to return to the playoffs after a gap of 12 years.
Ellis was a second round pick in the draft and during his rookie season he averaged 6.8 points. This year, his improvement in scoring was the largest increase in the NBA. He came to the forefront of the nation in the Rookie Challenge during the All Star weekend where he scored 28 points.
In his second season, Ellis turned out to be a major contributor to the Warriors’ fast paced offense. He not only earned his teammates trust and playing in key situations, he also learned to play point guard on Nelson’s request. Only New Orleans’ Chris Paul with 17.2 points has averaged more points per game this season amongst the second year pros.