In the Dallas Mavericks’ first preseason game leading up to the 2013-2014 NBA regular season, newly signed guard Monta Ellis looked very unlike the free-shooting, low-efficiency player that we’ve come to know him as. He shot a solid 6-11 from the field and was often facilitating for his teammates.
I wrote after that first game from Ellis that I wanted to see him play that way more than once before I bought into Ellis changing his game to help this Mavericks team. In no way do I doubt Ellis’ ability if he approaches the game the right way, but there is a ton of evidence that says his approach to the game isn’t what it should be at times.
After their second preseason game on Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, though, I’m starting to believe that maybe Dirk Nowitzki and head coach Rick Carlisle may have gotten to Ellis and have him playing the right way. For the second preseason game in a row, Ellis’ play impressed me.
Ellis was on the floor for 26 minutes on Wednesday night and finished the game with 11 points, eight assists, three rebounds and only one turnover. His assist numbers and ball-security were surely impressive, but the biggest positive from his performance was the fact that he put up his 11 points on only six shots, hitting four of them.
I realize that there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to Ellis’ play in these first two preseason game. First of all, it is the preseason which means you can’t take too much stock in some players’ performances. Secondly, Jose Calderon has missed the first two preseason games with minor injuries, which more or less necessitates Ellis running the offense and facilitating more.
Despite it being the preseason and Calderon’s absence, it’s hard not to have hope for Ellis this season. He’s always had the skills to succeed in the NBA, but he’s just needed the right mental approach. He’s played with the right mentality for the first two preseason games and, if I were a Mavs fan, hopefully that’s a sign of what’s to come in the regular season.
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