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Monta Ellis is Lou Williams

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Last summer I compared Monta Ellis and Lou Williams. How can a player who averaged 24 points per game last season (Ellis) be compared to 14-point-per-game Lou Williams you ask? Simple math, my friends. 

Check out this statistical comparison from Basketball Reference. When you look at the two players per games statistics Monta is +10 in points per game, +2 in assists, +1.5 in rebounds, +1.5 in steals, and +0.7 in free throws. The kicker, he's also +17 in minutes. When you scroll down to each players statistics 'per 36' minutes (meaning the stats they're projected to put up when each play an equal number of minutes), their numbers are eerily similar.

Per 36

Ellis - 21.5 points, 5 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.9 steals

Williams - 21.2 points, 5.2 assists 3.1 rebounds, 1.0 steal

The only significant advantage Monta had over Lou is his field goal percentage of 45, opposed to 41 for Lou. However; when free throws and threes are factored in, the players' true shooting percentages are identical. Lou got to the line 2.5 more times per 36, and shot a slightly better percentage (82% to 79%). He also made 0.3 more threes per 36, but shot a slightly lower percentage than Monta (36% to 35%).

If you want to get all fancy and compare advanced stats, Lou and Monta both had a PER of 18 last season, an identical TRB% of 4.9, an AST% within 0.7 of each other and the same usage rate. Lou edged Monta big time in offensive rating, defensive rating, turnover rate and win shares per 48 minutes. Monta had advantages in steal percentage and effective field goal percentage (the statistic adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal).

(If you are unfamilar with these advanced statistics and want to know more visit the Basketball Reference glossary).

Statistics imply that if Lou Williams received the same amount of playing time as Monta Ellis he would put up similar numbers, and vice versa. Obviously this isn't an exact science, because who knows how Lou would react if his opponents game-planned for him they way they game-plan for Monta. But I'd bet a ton of money that Lou would score 20+ points per game if he received Monta's minutes and shots, because they're matching ball-hogging combo guards.

The average percentage of an NBA player's field goals made which are assisted by their teammates is 60%. Lou and Monta were both well below average at 42% and 41%, respectively, meaning they create their own shot more often than one of the teammates create a shot for them.

Whether you're looking at each player's 'per 36' stats, advanced stats, and even more advanced stats like percentage of assisted field goals made Lou Williams and Monta Ellis compare perfectly. They were even drafted out of high school in the same draft (2005), both in the second round! They're essentially the same person, except one is a budding rap star, and the other crashes mo-peds. Oh, and the're both awful defensively.

These similarities between two equal-age players make the Andre Iguodala for Monta Ellis trade rumor look idiotic from the Sixers perspective, because they already have a Monta Ellis clone as their sixth man, with half his salary. I understand the potential trade would save the Sixers 11 million over the next three seasons, but Ellis' contract ends a year after Elton Brand's, so it still prevents the from being major free agency players in 2013 (read here).  

I realize trading every Sixers fan's whipping boy for a "go-to scorer" who perrenially drops upwards of 20 points per game sounds like a great idea, but trust me, Monta is not the answer. He doesn't compliment the future backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, he doesn't fill any need that Lou Williams already fills, and he doesn't improve the salary cap situation long-term, only short-term, and only marginally.

To be completely honest, I'd rather trade Iguodala for Hedo Turkoglu.

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