Since coming to the Dallas Mavericks, Monta Ellis has been defying expectations by adopting the role of unselfish distributor. Overall, he’s been very successful at it, amassing the fourth most assists in the NBA during the preseason.
However, over the last three games, Ellis has been much less effective, shooting just under 28 percent and turning the ball over 11 times. To the casual observer, it looks as though the problem is a direct correlation with the types of shots he’s been taking, which are drifting farther away from the basket. He’s made just 1-of-11 three-point shots during this stretch. Unless Ellis is wide open, he should rarely take threes at all and should virtually never be taking almost four three-point shots per game.
Ellis has a different diagnosis for the problem. He thinks that the problem stems from his focus on playmaking, and that he’s looking to pass too much. “I’ve got to be more aggressive attacking the basket, getting a couple to go down and then work to see how the defense changes,” Ellis says.
I think he could be on to something, as he is a more natural shooting guard than a point guard. He was brought to Dallas for his adept scoring ability, and that should be his primary focus. It’s Jose Calderon‘s job to be the main facilitator.
Having said that, Ellis must achieve a fine balance between looking to score and forcing shots when they aren’t really available. This is the area where he’ll really be able to buck his long-standing reputation as an inefficient scorer, if he can manage to pull it off.