Mar 27, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis (11) dribbles the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks: Monta Ellis Worth Every Penny


Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

A year from now, when reflecting on the top free agents from 2013, the top three will look like this.

Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and … Monta Ellis?

Who would’ve thought?

But as the 2013-14 NBA season draws to a close, that’s realistic. The Dallas Mavericks were interested in both Paul and Howard. Obviously, they decided to not move to Dallas.

With the plethora of cap room the Mavs had left, they had to settle. That’s the best way to put it. They invested four years and $29 million for Jose Calderon. Ellis got three years, $25 million.

After the year that the scoring dynamo has had, he’s earned every penny he gets from Dallas moving forward.

I loved the Ellis signing from the start. If there was a team in the league that could best utilize Ellis’ strengths, it was Dallas. Ellis never played on a team with another superstar that commands as much attention as himself. And if there was a head coach who could get Ellis the ball where he needs it, that was Rick Carlisle.

The result? Dallas heading back to the playoffs after a year-long hiatus, and considered the most dangerous Western Conference playoff team among the lower seeds.

And it’s all because to the most dynamic playmaker Dirk Nowitzki has ever played with.

With how guard-heavy the West is, Ellis wasn’t going to be named an All-Star. He had the numbers resembling of an All-Star guard. Heading into Wednesday’s season finale against Memphis, Ellis is averaging 19 points per game, 5.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds. Any other year, Ellis is playing during All-Star weekend.

Then again, this is the same player who averaged 25.5 points per game in 2009-10 and didn’t get any consideration for an All-Star appearance. But this is a more complete and well-rounded Ellis than we’ve seen from his Golden State days.

And this is an Ellis that will be relied upon to carry the Mavs through the playoffs. Dallas already knows what it’s going to get from Nowitzki. As for Ellis, it’s uncertain to know what Dallas gets from him.

Ellis has only been in the playoffs twice in his career. The first came in 2006-07, when the No. 8-seed Warriors knocked off Dirk’s Mavs in six games. He was almost nonexistent in that series, averaging 8.2 points per game in 26 minutes.

Last year, when he played the forgetful stint in Milwaukee, Ellis averaged 38 minutes in the four-game sweep at the hands of the Miami Heat. He also averaged 14.3 points per game. This was the same series where Ellis compared himself to Dwyane Wade, minus the championship rings.

That went over well.

In order for the Mavs to have any success in these playoffs, it’ll have to be on Ellis to have one of the better stints of his career. Nowitzki will give Dallas about 25 points and 10 rebounds (or more) in about 39 minutes. Can Ellis average more than 20 points a game in the playoffs? It’s definitely a possibility.

Nevertheless, no matter what happens, it’s now certain that Ellis was worth every penny that the Mavs spent on him.

Going forward, it’s only going to benefit him.

You can find Danny Webster on Twitter @DannyWebster21.

Tags: Dallas Mavericks Monta Ellis