The big free agent signing of 2013 for the Dallas Mavericks was Monta Ellis. His arrival brought a legitimate second scorer to the team to help ease some of the pressure and responsibility offensively on aging-superstar Dirk Nowitzki.
Ellis averaged 19 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game, roughly on par with his career averages. Believe it or not, the Mavericks think that Ellis will only get better next season.
“We haven’t seen the best of Monta Ellis yet,” owner Mark Cuban said during his appearance on 103.3 FM’s “ESPN Dallas GameDay” on Saturday, via ESPN Dallas. “Now that he’s more comfortable, now that he knows what’s expected of him, he’s going to work on his game over the summer. …
“I’m messaging him left and right all the time saying, ‘OK, what are you working on today? What are the things you’re adding to your game? Because you can’t come back with just the same game. You’ve got to be better to take us to the next level.’ And he’s all in.”
If the Mavericks are able to land a “big fish” free agent, you’d certainly expect Ellis to get better. Having another scoring threat on the floor can only help ease some of the attention off of him and free him up to make plays.
Even if they don’t Cuban says center Tyson Chandler, who the Mavericks just traded for, will make Ellis better as well.
“The one thing that I don’t think people will realize until they see it is Tyson is going to make Monta significantly better,” Cuban said. “I think Tyson will reduce Monta’s turnovers by one, one and a half per game simply because there were times Monta threw it up thinking that Sam [could catch it].
“Look, defensively in particular and even offensively, Sam had some monster games for us against the Spurs and at the end of the season. He got incredibly better, but his hands aren’t as good as Tyson’s. Tyson is going to be able to catch some things that Sam wasn’t able to. That’s going to make Monta better.”