OAKLAND -- Jeremy Lin and Monta Ellis never were slated to be the Warriors' backcourt, never should've been the backcourt and were sent away within a few months of each other last season.
The Warriors moved on with other plans and are proving this season why they were smart to move on.
But Ellis and Lin haven't been forgotten by Warriors fans. How could they be?
Which gives an intriguing dimension to the coincidence of Lin's Houston Rockets playing the Warriors on Friday at Oracle, followed the next day by Ellis' Milwaukee Bucks.
These aren't the first trips back to Oracle as opponents for either guard, of course.
Ellis played with the Bucks at Oracle almost immediately after the trade last year; Lin has been back several times since his departure and his explosive emergence as a true NBA playmaker.
But the Lin/Ellis Bay Area convergence -- and guaranteed fan double-appreciation -- is a good a time to look back at the Warriors' decisions, and how those decisions led to a stronger backcourt.
Basically, the Warriors have Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson now, which is why they don't have Ellis and Lin.
They're also in line to make the playoffs right now, which they weren't when they had Ellis and Lin.
Ellis sold tickets for the Warriors, no doubt. Lin, if he'd ever played much for the Warriors, would've been an incredible sensation in the Bay Area.
I expect some Warriors fans will always pine for
But, while Curry and Thompson aren't a perfect duo, this is the best backcourt fit the Warriors have had since Baron Davis and Jason Richardson.
And it's built to last a lot longer.
"They're there as a fit," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said of Curry and Thompson before Friday's game. "Two guys that can flat-out shoot the basketball. Two guys that are weapons.
"Obviously the thing you want to do is continue to get better as far as handling the basketball. ... That's Klay's next step, and he's gotten better than he was last year."
Interestingly, both Lin and Ellis were discarded by the Warriors in order to land a center.
First, Lin was released in December 2011 to gather up as much money as possible in an offer sheet for restricted free-agent DeAndre Jordan.
But the Los Angeles Clippers matched, so the maneuvering went for naught.
A few months later, the Warriors traded Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown to Milwaukee for a package featuring center Andrew Bogut, who, of course, was hurt at the time.
And has been hurt for most of this season, though Bogut is back playing now and occasionally giving the Warriors exactly what they've needed for years: defense in the paint, intimidation, some good post passing.
Lin was expendable because he was just an afterthought (though favored by co-owner Joe Lacob) when he went undrafted in 2010, because the Warriors wanted to keep Charles Jenkins (released last month), and because they already had Curry and Ellis dominating the ball.
Then Ellis was expendable because he and Curry didn't mesh well, were too small to match up against bigger backcourts, and Ellis was making noises about wanting a contract extension.
Also: Because they had Thompson waiting in the wings -- someone with the size to defend tough wings and the shooting ability to drive defenses crazy.
OK, clearly, this backcourt has some issues. They both have trouble staying in front of quicker guards, and neither is a true dribble-penetrator.
Thompson, at times, plays haphazardly and, if he's not hitting shots, can be a nonfactor for long stretches.
But how many backcourts in the league are definitely better than Curry and Thompson? Not too many.
They've made more 3-pointers than any starting backcourt in the league, at a good percentage, and Thompson's defense has been sneaky effective at key moments.
You sure couldn't ever say that about Ellis' defense during his time with the Warriors -- or now, even as his offense ticks up for the Milwaukee.
"He's a very good defender -- his length, size, pays attention to details," Jackson said of Thompson.
"We've put him on Tony Parker, we've put him on Chris Paul, we've put him on Russell Westbrook, we've put him on James Harden. And those are tough covers."
So ... Lin and Ellis are exciting players, doing exciting things, and they're not Warriors anymore. For different reasons, they shouldn't be forgotten.
It's a good time to acknowledge that. But it's also a good time to remember what the Warriors have in the backcourt -- and how crucial they are to everything the Warriors are doing.
Inside "º"º Trade to Milwaukee working out just fine for Monta Ellis, who returns to Oracle Arena on Saturday night.