Is Monta Ellis Still a Bad Defensive Player?
A quick google search of “Monta Ellis Bad Defender” will turn up a host of interesting web pages. The very first link sends you to 2014’s annual feature by Tim Kawakami naming the “All NBA No-Defense Teams” in which Monta lands an “Honorable Mention” spot on the dubious squad. The second link finds you reading a fascinating rebuttal on NBA Reddit titled, “Why do people think Monta Ellis is a terrible defender?”
稍微google一下"Monta Ellis Bad Defender"這個關鍵字會出現很多有趣的網頁。第一個連結是Tim Kawakami在2014年所寫，命名為「NBA不防守第一隊」的文章，而Monta則是其中可有可無的「榮譽提名」。第二個連結則是NBA Reddit的網站，標題為「為何人們認為Monta Ellis防守很爛？」的文章，會讓你覺得讀了個有趣的反論。
Both posts are mostly reliant on the good old fashioned “eye test” with a few hard-to-contextualize stats thrown in, supposedly offering some measure of argumentative support. Kawakami notes that in 2014, the 37-year-old Vince Carter was statistically better defensively than Monta Ellis. The blogger on NBA Reddit argued that according to the NBA’s Player Tracking stats, Ellis was an above average defensive player in every single defensive metric he qualified for except for hand-offs and off-screen defense.
兩篇文章都按照老派「眼見為憑」的作風，再附上一些難以捉摸實際其況的數據，試圖用以支持他們的立論。Kawakami提到在2014年，37歲的Vince Carter在數據上是個比Monta Ellis更好的防守者。而NBA Reddit的作者則是反擊根據NBA球員的追蹤數據，Ellis在防守端撇開防守無球者以及穿越掩護者的狀況下是個高於平均水準的球員。
The thread underneath led to perhaps one of my favorite NBA Reddit comments ever by some Mavericks fan named sbeaty:
I love Monta and I will admit he he isn’t AS BAD as people think or say on defense. That being said Monta goes rogue way [too] much. He constantly runs to where the [ball] is or goes for steals. He throws off the defense and [puts] us into bad rotations.
Monta reminds me of an A.D.D kid chasing a butterfly. He wants that butterfly so damn much.
Go get your butterfly Monta!
Evaluating an individual player’s defense solely through statistics is imperfect at best. Obviously, a simple look at steals and blocks will tell very little. Even the advanced individual defensive stats are incredibly hard to quantify. Defensive win shares, Defensive Rating, and Defensive Box Plus/Minus all tell us some interesting things, and a quick look at the league leaders in those categories reveal that they have to at least be doing something right, but it’s hard to really define what those numbers actually mean. Player tracking data is useful, especially for evaluating how well big men protect the rim, but even SportVu has flaws – namely that it can’t really contextualize whether a player is competing against starters, bench players, or mop up guys.