Steinmetz: Ellis' injury leaves scoring void

This is supposed to be the offseason, but with Monta Ellis sustaining a serious ankle injury and Team USA bringing home the gold from the Beijing Olympics, there’s a lot of hoops talk out there.

Let’s get to it:

* The Warriors will likely be without Ellis until at least mid-December — and probably longer than that.

The immediate impact of Ellis’ loss will be felt at the offensive end, obviously. Last season, Ellis was the Warriors’ most efficient offensive player, shooting a power-forward-like 53 percent from the field.

One of Ellis’ strengths is his ability to get you easy buckets without necessarily having to run plays for him. He can create fastbreak opportunities on his own and he can improvise on offense when the things break down.

Ellis’ absence means more shots for Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette, neither of whom shoot a high percentage. Jackson is a career 41 percent shooter and Maggette is under 45 percent.

Jackson and Maggette are also likely to see more defensive focus because Ellis won’t be around. And that’s not going to do much for their percentage, either.

Ellis is the most crucial player when it comes to the Warriors’ up-tempo game, and without him, they’ll be slower and less exciting

* Coach Mike Krzyzewski can come off as a little bit arrogant — and for our tastes, he spends too much time arguing with officials. But you have to acknowledge the stellar job he did with Team USA.

It is not easy to coach a team of NBA stars and it’s even more difficult when you’re a collegiate coach trying to do it.
Krzyzewski’s willingness to move to the background and allow his players to assume responsibility for success and failure was a legitimate team move, which paid off big-time.

It’s not something every coach can do.

There doesn’t seem to be any question about it anymore: Krzyzewski must go down as one of the game’s greatest coaches.

* One of the most impressive players for Team USA was Toronto’s Chris Bosh, whose game continues to expand.

Bosh has sometimes been criticized for not playing in the paint enough, but that certainly wasn’t a problem during the Olympics. Bosh willingly took on physical challenges, was an aggressive offensive rebounder and was Team USA’s most consistent frontcourt player.

He even seemed more than willing to do the dirty work when asked.

Matt Steinmetz is the NBA insider for Warriors telecasts on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. E-mail him at msteinmetz@sfexaminer.com.

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