Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
When the Dallas Mavericks signed Monta Ellis this offseason to a 3-yr contract for 25+million dollar after striking out on the likes of Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, many thought that the Mavericks would rue the day, as they made this signing out of desperation to make amends for the dismantling of the 2011 Championship squad. Ellis came into the season labeled as an inefficient, selfish, defensive liability, and high-volume scorer, which actually led to him being available to the Mavericks for that type of contract.
The Maverick hopefuls would argue that Ellis has never had a star such as Dirk Nowitzki, point guard like Jose Calderon, and a coach like Rick Carlisle who can all bring out the best of Ellis by putting him in a position to succeed and lessening the amount of responsibilities put on him to carry a team. With Ellis’s ability to get to the basket that he would be the perfect Robin to Nowitzki, especially in the pick-n-pop.
Well Ellis has not just proven the nay-sayers wrong but also much of the Maverick contingency. From his Mavericks debut of 32 points and 8 assists, Ellis has not just exceeded expectations, but has surpassed the role of Robin. Through 12 games Ellis is leading the team with 23+pts and just under 6 assists per game. Even more impressive than the points and assist per game is the field goal percentage of 49.5%. The increase in his field goal percentage has been a mix of defenses focusing in on Nowitzki and Ellis’s relentless attacks to the basket.
Just as important as his numbers, Ellis has also brought a swagger that the Mavericks lacked last season. He has shown a confidence, determination, and relentlessness to the court that seems to always keep the Mavericks competitive. His willingness to hustle, dive for loose balls, and his effort on the defensive end have been more than a welcoming site. Yes, Ellis’s confidence may lead to some ill-advised shots and bad turnovers (4 per game), but the positive has greatly outweighed the negatives.
It is to be seen if Ellis will be able to keep this up all season, but if things hold up he won’t just be co-starring with Nowitzki, but will see his first All-Star game in his first season with the Dallas Mavericks.
Monta really does “have it all” early on into the season.