Monta Ellis comes to the Dallas Mavericks with some baggage. Of course, a 27-year-old who averages over 19 points per game doesn’t usually switch around teams too much unless he has a bit of baggage. In the case of Ellis, that baggage comes in the form of shot selection and a perceived need to score, win or lose.
That reputation may in fact prove to be based entirely on fact, but Ellis won’t be the first player to come to the Mavericks surrounded by questions. When Vince Carter signed with the team, he had a very similar reputation to the one Ellis brings to the team. He was a ball hog who only cared about scoring and played virtually no defense. On top of that, he was thought to be too old and washed up to contribute. Carter has turned out to be a team player with plenty left in the tank. He is now a huge part of the Mavericks’ plan for this season and potentially going forward, despite the fact that Carter will be 37 when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Shawn Marion was another player who was thought to have been too old to be worth any playing time. Four seasons later and Marion is still a starting forward who has led the Mavericks in rebounding each of the past two years, a pretty incredible achievement for a player listed at 6-foot-7. There isn’t a player on the team who gives more effort at all times when on the court, and his leadership cannot be understated.
Finally, Brandan Wright came to the Mavericks just trying to prove that he even deserved a spot on an NBA roster, which he has been able to do admirably. He’s bulked up from his rookie weight of 210 pounds as well as adding some much-needed range to his jump shot, making him a highly versatile player. Wright led the Mavericks and was 20th in the NBA with a Player Efficiency Rating of 21.03. PER is not always the most telling statistic, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
Ellis obviously hopes that he can prove some naysayers wrong, and the only way that can happen is by changing his ways on the court. If he can take higher percentage shots and add just a touch of defense, then Monta Ellis will be the latest successful reclamation project for the Mavericks.