Monta Ellis isn't hitting shots or (reportedly) getting along with teammates.
Cary Edmondson/Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
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.
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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?