Absolutely, Graydon and the monotone folks deserve lots of credit. As do Tom Lord and the arch folks for their pioneering work with free distributed SCM. I'm sure there are many other people and projects whose ideas are present in git.
But you say git's design is merely "stripped back and implemented from scratch with simplicity and speed as primary objectives". In fact, simplicity is a *very* valuable design aspect, and one that few SCM architects have managed to achieve. In fact, simplicity is one of git's major innovations. I already mentioned a couple other unique design aspects of git so I won't repeat them here.
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