Some NBA critics were quick to point out the flaws in Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis’ game before the season started. Of the complaints, some were that he’s a horrible defender, he takes way too many bad, awkward, low-percentage shots, he takes way too many three-pointers (in spite of an abysmal three-point shooting percentage), and that he is a ‘volume scorer,’ which, according to basketball sabermetrics, is basically an overrated player who does not contribute in a significant way to team victories.
Playing with Dirk Nowitzki doesn’t really hurt, and Ellis has proven thus far this season that he has learned from his previous mistakes and has significantly cut down on the sort of behavior which must have given all of his former head coaches splitting headaches. He chucked up four three-pointers per game last year, in spite of the fact he made only 29 percent of them. This year, Ellis’ three-point shooting percent has not improved too much (30 percent), but he’s gone on a three-point shot diet (just over two attempts per game).
By focusing more on primarily mixing up spot-up jump shots and blinding bursts to the basket (and, of course, passing the ball to his teammates), Ellis is shooting overall at 46 percent from the field this year, his best shooting percentage since the 2007-08 season with the Golden State Warriors.
However, the good things that Ellis always did, he’s still doing, like his six assists per game and almost two steals. Ellis is out there playing Monta-ball, and it’s about time he gets his respect.