When the Golden State Warriors pulled the trigger than sent Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks for the oft-injured Andrew Bogut, nearly everyone was stunned and critical of the trade.
Fast forward a year and two months later, and nobody should be having any doubts anymore. The Warriors, with Bogut as their starting center, are taking the league by storm in the playoffs, advancing to the second round and doing well against a tough team in the Spurs.
A lot of that can be credited to the opportunities opened up by the departure of Ellis, head coach Mark Jackson told Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com:
It helped change the culture. Obviously it was easier to pull the trigger because we knew what we had in Klay and it was time for him to be a starting two-guard. And he does everything right.
When pressed as to how the trade changed the culture, Jackson paused and mumbled a “you know,” implying the obvious.
By trading Ellis, the Warriors got rid of a low-efficiency, demand-the-ball, no-defense, selfish player in favor of teamwork and a system that involves sharing the basketball. Look how much that strategy has worked, while Ellis is wreaking havoc up in Milwaukee.
So when Jackson claimed that the trade “changed the culture,” what he really means is that getting rid of Ellis helped the Warriors reach new heights that could never have been accomplished with their former franchise player.