The Mavericks might have a Monta Ellis problem
The Dallas Mavericks need Monta Ellis to consistently make shots if they want to consistently win games, and neither is happening right now. Ellis is 7-for-31 in his last two outings, and off nights have become regular since the All-Star break.
In early March, he finished 5-for-20 in a blowout loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, then went 2-for-14 against the Golden State Warriors 24 hours later. Ellis is a key ingredient in Rick Carlisle’s offense, and when the 29-year-old (who turns 30 before next season) is cold, the whole team has a difficult time putting points on the board.
Scoring droughts are an issue, but just one of many when discussing whether the Mavericks should re-sign Ellis this summer (if the shooting guard opts out of his $8.7 million player option, which is expected). According to ESPN Dallas’ Tim MacMahon, Ellis is also beginning to rub teammates the wrong way.
Regardless of whether anyone will admit it on the record, Ellis is a big part of that problem. Folks in the Mavs organization have been fretting for weeks about the impact Ellis’ moodiness has on the team’s soul.
That, of course, isn’t a first for Ellis. He had trouble getting along with teammates during his tenure with the Golden State Warriors, who never won anything of note with Ellis as the go-to guy and made an addition-by-subtraction deal by shipping him off. The same was true with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Despite his advancing age, Ellis is still more than capable of scoring out of the pick-and-roll, getting to the rim and creating his own shot. How effective he can be without peak Dirk Nowitzki by his side is another question, though; Ellis relies more on mid-range jump shots when Nowitzki hits the bench.
The Mavericks have a busy summer ahead, with Tyson Chandler and Rajon Rondo both entering unrestricted free agency. But signing Ellis to a long-term deal is quickly becoming one of the riskier propositions Dallas must confront once the season ends. What will the Mavericks do?
(h/t: ESPN Dallas)