Dirk Nowitzki is still the leader of the Dallas Mavericks, for better or for worse. He’s one of the most dynamic and unique players that the NBA has ever seen and, even though he’s 35 years old, this is still his team. However, with the Mavs signing free-agent guard Monta Ellis this summer, it’s pretty natural to wonder if Ellis knows whose team this is or not.
There are two things that Ellis has shown over his eight seasons in the NBA. The first is that he has a ton of talent and athleticism when it comes to the game of basketball. The second is that he has delusions of grandeur when it comes to playing in the NBA. If you asked him, he would probably tell you that he is one of the five best players in the league.
Bringing a guy with the mentality of Ellis to the Mavs, clearly Dirk’s team, is dangerous for the team’s chemistry and how they will be able to operate. Ellis has never been one to settle into playing second-fiddle, which is a bad sign.
However, Ellis seems to have finally grasped his role in the NBA as he’s about to begin his tenure with the Mavericks. In the Mavs’ introductory press conference, Ellis says that going into this season that he is fully aware that he is Nowitzki’s “sidekick.”
This is probably the best news that the Mavs have heard all season. If Ellis were to keep posing as a superstar and putting up inefficient season, then he would hardly be an asset to the Mavs this season. However, if he comes into the year willing to defer to Dirk and others, he could actually be quite valuable.
The only question that remains now is whether or not Ellis will back up what he says on the floor or whether he is just spewing out empty words and false promises. For Dallas’ sake, let’s hope that he delivers on being a sidekick this season and doesn’t try to be the leader that he’s clearly not.