Fire and Ice: Monta Ellis and Rudy Gay

Each week, we’ll examine two players that have gone in opposite directions in the past week previous week and their prospects for the immediate future.

Try not to look directly at Monta Ellis.

Fire: Monta Ellis

Following Stephen Jackson’s departure from the Golden State Warriors, much was made of the impact it would have the values of Stephen Curry, Anthony Randolph and Brandon Morrow.

It seems we all forgot to mention that Monta Ellis might go nuclear.

Over the past week, Ellis has averaged 30 points, 3.3 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.0 3-pointer and 0.8 blocks in four games. He has shot 53 percent from the floor and 88 percent from the line during that stretch.

Ellis has scored 34 points or more in four of his last six games and has been the second-best eight-category player over the past 10 days, according to Basketball Monster.

This pace is pretty much unsustainable for Ellis, who relies on speed and quickness and has to work – or at least outrun opposing defenses to score. He gets few easy jumpers because that’s not his style.

Still, it’s pretty clear he will remain a beneficiary of the Jackson’s absence and may finish the season as a Top 25 fantasy player. He’s not really a sell-high option unless you can land a first-round caliber player for him.

Ice: Rudy Gay

It seems I get fooled every time I start to believe in Gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Despite a subpar 2008-09 season, he was projected as a Top 30 player with expected averages of 19.0 points, 1.3 3-pointers, 5.7 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks.

Those numbers seemed prescient after a hot start, but Gay has been providing 10th-round value over the past week, averaging just 15 points on 43 percent shooting in four games.

The good news is that Gay still averaged more than one block and one steal per game. The bad news is that his .500-plus FG% is slipping and he has just 45 points with one 3-pointer in his last three games.

Still, my faith in Gay (insert joke here) remains high. He’s a multi-faceted fantasy asset that’s fully expect to finish among the Top 30 this season.

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