It's becoming an annual tradition. In early February, the water coolers around the Bay Area are held up by people debating over one question: should Monta Ellis be an All-Star?

This figures to be Ellis' best chance ever thanks to a few breaks. Some of his biggest competition in previous years is no longer in the picture. Deron Williams was traded to the Eastern Conference. Brandon Roy retired. Manu Ginobili is out with a broken wrist.

In what's a slow start for him, he's still one of the league's best scorers -- his 21.5 points per game rank ninth in the NBA through Thursday. Plus, Ellis leads all shooting guards in assists per game (6.7), a much-improved aspect of his game.

"His numbers speak for themselves," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said of his seventh-year guard. "He has great numbers. He's had a great first half. ... He's certainly playing at an All-Star level."