The Dallas Mavericks were interested in gambling this summer. They weren’t seen at the crap-tables or anxiously eyeing the roulette wheel, but they were going all-in trying to land the services of free-agent center Dwight Howard. They put all of their chips on black, but the ball fell on Houston Rockets red in the end.
When the Mavericks missed out on Dwight, they kicked it into plan-B mode. They went out and they signed veteran point guard Jose Calderon to a four-year deal and tried to enlist the services of Andrew Bynum, which ended up being another fruitless venture. In addition, the Mavs also put their gambling face on once again, this time when they agreed to a deal with Monta Ellis.
Over his eight seasons in the NBA, Ellis has proven to be enigmatic, talented, a headache, and a connoisseur in the art of taking ill-advised shots. When asked about his poor shot selection as he comes to Dallas, Ellis simply replied that “there is a lot of guys that take a lot of bad shots in this league,” per Jeff Caplan of NBA.com. Caplan also reported on Ellis saying that he feels he will be criticized no matter how he plays and that he plans to play “Monta-ball” with the Mavericks this season. Uh-oh.
If “Monta-ball” means that Ellis is going to be doing the same things that he’s been doing in recent seasons, the Mavericks have to hate life right about now.
Last season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Ellis averaged 19.2 points and six assists per game, which looks solid in itself. However, when you factor in that it took him 17.5 shot attempts and four three-point attempts per game to get to that total, all while shooting only 41.6 percent from the floor and 28.7 percent from long-distance, it looks a lot less impressive.
Even with Ellis averaging six assists per game last season and 4.7 assist per game for his career, it’s no secret at this point that he is a shoot-first guard. Looking for his shot, whether that’s the right move in a given situation or not, has been the “Monta-ball” that we’ve come to know. If he plans to do that in Dallas, it’s not going to work out well.
As Ellis comes to the Mavs, he’s not going to be option number one. Dallas is still the domain of Dirk Nowitzki and Ellis coming to town doesn’t remotely begin to change that. However, if Monta is taking away shots from Dirk by doing whatever he pleases, it’s not going to result in wins and will result in head coach Rick Carlisle having a conniption.
“Monta-ball” might be what Ellis wants to play coming to the Mavericks, but it’s not what this team needs him to play. If Carlisle and his teammates can convince him to play as a second or even third option on this team, there’s no doubt he could have success with the talent that he has. However, he has shown no signs in recent years of that being something he’s interested in doing and these comments seem to reinforce that. Ellis may believe he “have it all,” but the Mavs will find out quickly that “Monta-ball” is wildly frustrating for a team.
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