Much like Brandon Jennings did just over a week ago, Monta Ellis sat at his introductory press conference and blamed everybody else for his shortcomings with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Making excuses is one of the easiest things to do when expectations aren’t met. It’s a cop out, but it convinces enough people to move on. Right after Jennings pointed his finger at his teammates to explain why he couldn’t succeed in Milwaukee, Ellis did the same thing Friday at his introductory press conference in Dallas.
“I don’t really have to shoot the ball as much on this team,” Ellis said. “The previous team I been on, like I said once before, I had to do 60 percent of the work no matter what the situation is. I think with this team here, I don’t have to do as much or take as many shots because sometimes they’re going to stop me and Dirk (Nowitzki) is going to be open, Jose (Calderon), Devin (Harris), the list goes on and on.
“So, I don’t think I have to do as much as I had to do in the previous years. That’s going to get me back to being efficient, that’s going to get me back to being more consistent and it’s going to get me back to playing Monta basketball.”
Monta basketball is inefficient. We’re supposed to believe he’s going to change? This is the same tune Jennings was humming when he was introduced in Detroit. Because the talent around him is better, he’s suddenly going to shoot better and completely change his game.
Don’t players like Ellis and Jennings want to be “the man?” In no way am I comparing Ellis to LeBron or Kobe, but players like those make teammates better. Milwaukee’s former dynamic duo are each good players, but not franchise players. Both think they are, or at least thought they were with the Bucks. If you want the glory when things go well, then take the blame when things don’t work out. Neither of them are.
Here’s the thing: Ellis is being brought in by the Mavericks to be a main offensive option. Nobody is touching Dirk as Dallas’ go-to guy, but Ellis will have to be really good if the Mavericks expect to compete for a decent playoff spot.
Ellis shot 41.5 percent from the field and 28.7 percent on 3-pointers last season, so someone asked him if he’s being undervalued because he shot poorly over the past two seasons.
“I’m going to say not really,” Ellis said. “You’re going to have people who are going to say what they’re going to say anyway. I don’t think so. I’m fortunate, blessed to have a job and still be doing what I love doing. Like I said, there’s going to be things people say that you have no control over so I don’t think it is. I just think people have an opinion, they like to state their opinion and that’s what it is.”
Jennings stopped at how his new teammates are going to help him change his game, but Ellis went a step further. Not only did Milwaukee’s talent hold him back, but the city did too.
“When you’re in a place where you’re unhappy, it’s very hard for you to perform to your best ability,” Ellis said. “So, I mean, with this new beginning, new fresh start, you know, better organization, you know, better teammates, they’re going to make things a lot more better.”
I don’t blame Ellis for saying he was unhappy or even being unhappy. That’s an opinion a person has a right to have, and he wouldn’t be the first professional athlete to be unhappy in a city. But why can’t you perform to the best of your ability?
It shouldn’t be asking too much of a professional to perform to the best of their ability even if they aren’t in a place they want to be. But this is another excuse. I think he was playing to the best of his ability last season.
And if he truly wasn’t able to perform to his ability, shame on him. It cost him, too. Ellis would have gotten a lot more money had he been able to.
Be thankful Ellis and Jennings are gone, Bucks fans. Both will continue to have solid careers because they are good players, but neither were ever going to be successful as Milwaukee’s leader.
Leaders hold themselves accountable. Ellis and Jennings took the easy way out.