Monta Ellis Clocks In as NBA Iron Man

Monta Ellis
AP Photo/Ben Margot
"I’m not switching out guys, I just need another forearm swab."

It was another long evening for the Warriors Monta Ellis, who played 43 of the possible 48 minutes in a 124-118 loss to the Lakers. This was on the heels of playing all 48 minutes on Monday night against the Celtics, notching his seventh complete game of the season, which is three more than all other NBA players combined. Perhaps even more amazing, though, is that those other players (Anthony Morrow, twice, Vladimir Radmanovic/C.J. Watson, once) all happen to be Ellis’ teammates. Don Nelson’s a wily coach, pioneering such innovations as the point forward and RUN-T.M.C. offense, so there has to be a reason. Does Nelson not trust his shooting guard depth? Did Ellis gorge himself on Frosted Flakes, forcing coach to burn the sugar out of his system?

Checking the numbers through Tuesday, Monta’s averaging 41.3 minutes per game, a mere 0.1 more than Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace (41.2 MPG). MPG may not be as appealing as points or even blocks, but a stat leader is a stat leader and the Warriors need something positive to point to this year. Nellie’s got to throw Golden State fans some kind of bone. As long as Monta’s putting up the most mileage, what are other titles he could rack up this year? Socks worn? Blisters popped?

What about miles covered during a season? Maybe there's a stat geek out there who can figure out how many miles Monta runs during a game and project that out? A cursory search on the interweb estimates that NBA players are running anywhere from three to five miles a game. Since the Warriors play at full speed and Monta is a guard, we'll assume he's going to be on the high end. We may need to consult the roundball experts at Truehoop on this one.