If you were expecting Monta Ellis to start the 2013-14 NBA season, his first season with the Dallas Mavericks, by picking up where he left off last year, you would have been wrong. While he’s garnered a reputation in recent years for being what I prefer to call “Bad Monta,” meaning he takes too many ill-advised shots instead of playing to his strengths and facilitating, he’s been far from that to start the year in Dallas.
Through Ellis’ first five games with the Mavs, he’s been one of the surprise stories of the year. Coming into their game on Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Ellis was averaging 24 points, 4.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 35.4 minutes per game. Most importantly for a player with Ellis’ track-record, he was shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and seemed to be playing within himself.
Whatever Kool-Aid he had been drinking for the first five games, though, he put down before Dallas’ game against Minnesota. Ellis came out and started chucking up a whole lot of bad shots from the get-go. He finished the night with 23 points and three assists, but did so while shooting 9-24 for the night. Not coincidentally, the Mavs dropped the game to the Wolves by a count of 116-108.
Obviously there were a lot of points to be had in this game and apparently Ellis wanted to have them all. However, while he was off taking 24 shots on the night, he was limiting Dirk Nowitzki to just 11 shots and a blazing hot Jose Calderon to only 11 shots as well.
The shot attempts of other key players for Dallas are inherently the problem when “Bad Monta” shows up. This is a team that where Ellis is not the primary option, though he might not see it that way. This is still Dirk’s team and, even if they’re scoring 108, they aren’t going to be successful if Monta doesn’t take a backseat to that on most instances.