One of the consolation prizes that the Dallas Maverick were able to grab in NBA Free Agency this summer after missing on Dwight Howard was combo-guard Monta Ellis. Ellis, an eight-year veteran, spent last season with the Milwaukee Bucks essentially fighting over who was going to take the next shot with his backcourt mate Brandon Jennings.
Now with Dallas, though, Ellis is in a much better situation. He’ll be joined in the backcourt with a more traditional point guard in Jose Calderon and will also be playing beside one of the best power forwards in the game in Dirk Nowtizki. There’s no question that the talent and the atmosphere is going to be much improved for Monta.
Even with a better situation, though, Ellis has to improve his efficiency as a scorer. Ellis averaged a solid 19.2 points per game for the Bucks last season, but he did so on just 41.6 percent shooting from the floor and putrid 28.7 percent three-point shooting.
Much of Ellis’s inefficiency last season and in recent years has been derived from suspect shot-selection and Ellis thinking he’s a quality jump shooter when he’s not. Ellis took 568 field goal attempts from inside of eight feet last season. On those attempts, he shot a solid 54.2 percent. However, on 832 jumpers that he took last season, Ellis shot an abysmal 28.4 percent from the floor. Bluntly, Ellis is a much more effective offensive player when he’s attacking and not pulling up for jumpers.
If the Mavs want to make a run at the postseason in the loaded Western Conference, they need Ellis to turn a corner with his game as a more efficient scorer. Being relied on too heavily and not have good enough spacing won’t be an issue for him this season, meaning that the onus falls all on Ellis. He has to be a better decision-maker this season with the ball in his hands. He says that he “have it all,” but we shall see if he has a more efficient playing style in his repertoire.