Double Dribbles: Coming up short

Published Jan. 10, 2011 11:56 a.m. EST

Jan. 10, 2011

Monta Ellis drives to the left, pulls up and shoots with his right hand. Yet his Golden State teammates never even cringe.

Houston's Kevin Martin comes around a screen and fires up an awkward-looking 15-footer, the type that makes you wonder if he simply ignored all those people who tried to teach him proper form.

Eric Gordon is hardly noticeable, playing alongside Blake Griffin and never forcing a thing. Gordon rarely goes on highlight-making scoring binges, yet it's Gordon who leads the L.A. Clippers at 23.5 points per game.

Ellis, Martin and Gordon all play with their own unique styles, finding ways to put the ball in the basket and gaining a spot among the NBA's top point-producers. All three also play for Western Conference teams that are likely to miss the postseason.

And while no one sets out to become The Next Purvis Short, players such as Ellis, Martin and Gordon could be well on their way.

Never heard of Purvis Short? Don't worry. Even some of the NBA's most dedicated fans hear his name and follow with a blank stare.

But Short was one of the top scorers of his day, filling up the basket during a career that spanned from 1978-90. In fact, Short averaged a whopping 28 points per game during the 1984-85 season and 25.5 the next.

And yet you likely have no idea who he is.

That's because Short spent the majority of his career with Warriors teams that never came close to the playoffs. Like Ellis, Martin and Gordon, he also played with little flair, and while he spent the majority of his time at small forward, he didn't really seem to have a true position.

Short was a scorer, period. He wasn't much of a defender, he didn't rebound, he rarely created for others and he wasn't exactly a threat when it came to passing out of double teams.

Sound familiar?

If you follow Ellis, Martin and Gordon, the answer is likely yes. All three are elite scorers, but are they really among the league's elite?

That's not intended to pick on those guys