Monta Ellis sure set the standards high for himself when he put up 32 points and 8 assists in his debut for the Dallas Mavericks in a 118-109 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
We weren’t expecting him to average 30+ points and 8+ assists, but we were expecting big things from the attacking Ellis.
He quickly won the hearts of Mavericks fans as he was averaging 21.9 points on 47.6% shooting and 5.6 assists while attempting 5.6 free throws a game in the first 18 games of the season.
Shedding the inefficient and selfish label that dogged him in the offseason.
Then December came around.
In December, Ellis saw his assist numbers increase, as he was averaging 6.5 assists in 13 games. The Mavericks will welcome high assist numbers from Ellis, as no one else on the roster has his ability to break the defense down. Just as much as the Mavs will welcome Ellis to create for his teammates, we must not forget that he was brought in to put points up on the board, something that he began to struggle with.
He saw his scoring (18.1), shooting (42.6%), and free throw attempts (4.7) all drop.
Was this due to the resurgence of star Dirk Nowitzki, who saw his scoring increase from 20.6 to 22.3 points per game? Was it just a slump? Or was it something bigger?
We saw O.J. Mayo’s scoring numbers decrease throughout the 2012-2013 season, so were we preparing to see the same thing from Ellis?
The New Year didn’t bring much improvement.
In the first 4 games of January, Ellis saw his numbers dip even more, as he was averaging only 16.3 points on 42.6% shooting and attempting just 3.5 free throws a game. His assists numbers as well took a dive as he was only dishing out 5.5 a game.
Was this actually happening? Is Monta wearing down? Have teams figured out how to contain him?
Well, Monta sure knew how to remove any doubt.
In the last 3 games which were played in 4 nights, he’s averaged 23.3 points on 53.2% shooting, 8.3 free throw attempts, and 5.3 assists. The numbers don’t tell the full story though. You can see a new determination and aggressiveness from him to continually attack the basket.
There’s still plenty of January left and just as importantly, there is still plenty of season left.
The Mavericks need Ellis to continue to show this aggressiveness. His ability to attack the basket doesn’t just create easier opportunities for him, but also for his teammates.
Let’s not forget, plenty of Dirk’s looks as he dropped 40 points, came off of Monta’s ability to break the defense down.
On the season Ellis is putting up 20 points (45.7%), 5.9 assists, and 5.4 free throw attempts per game.
Here’s to hoping that December and early January were not the norm for Ellis.
Once again “Monta Have It All”.