Never before had Ellis been given the luxury of playing with a star player the caliber of Dirk. After a single year as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, Mr. Have It All showed that he didn’t need to carry a team by himself. He needed help, and got that in Dallas.
But what about 2014-15? Does Monta Ellis take that next leap into stardom for the Mavs?
It’s a legitimate question. A legitimate answer is that he already took that leap last season, while becoming the most dynamic scorer Dirk has ever played with.
The talk of how Ellis fits with this new-look Dallas roster has been minimally discussed. After all, for a good two or three months last season, Monta had the chance to secure that All-Star berth that has eluded him.
Ellis had the most efficient season, and arguably his best, in 2013-14.
He may have an even better season starting this October. Let’s take a look at Ellis’ shot chart from last year, courtesy of The Nylon Calculus. Check out this site for your fill of analytical needs. It’s very useful.
Monta has always been one of the best at attacking the rim. Last year was no different. The numbers on the chart show Ellis’ field goal percentage from that area, and on a staggering 10.1 drives to the rim last season, he shot 70 percent from the left side of the basket and 73 percent from the right.
Some notes to keep in mind: Ellis has revamped his game as a playmaker. Most of the time he’s tried too hard. Last season marked his sixth straight season of averaging at least five assists per game. Monta averaged 5.7 assists last season in an offense where he was the primary ball handler, had to carry the scoring burden when Dirk struggled on most nights and somehow only turned the ball over 3.2 times.
With four point guards on the roster last season, Monta led the Mavs in assists. That’s blasphemous, but amazing.
That’s where inserting Devin Harris
or Raymond Felton in the starting lineup this season will help. As great of a shooter and distributor that Jose Calderon was, having a point guard who can run the floor with Ellis will be essential.
Think of the point guards that Ellis has played with in the past: Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Baron Davis, C.J. Watson and even at one time, Jamal Crawford. All have the ability to score, but have never had the ability to be the primary ball handler on a fast break and run with Ellis.
Not even Curry in his early years could adjust to playing with Monta.
It’s great to have speed in the backcourt. It’s also great to have speed at both guard positions, and Ellis could thrive on not having the ball in his hands at all times, directing the offense.
But even if he does have the ball in his hands, he’ll benefit from having a new-look roster full of shooters around him.
This is where adding a guy like Parsons will make Ellis’ job much easier, as you’ll see here. Parsons is a deadly shooter mainly from the right corner and right wing. While adding the dimension of attacking the basket to his repertoire, Parsons could get Ellis an increase in assists with his catch-and-shoot ability. Parsons made 41.4 percent of his 3-pointers in catch-and-shoot situations last season in Houston.
The difference between the Monta Ellis of last year and what he could be this year, comes down to the supporting cast. Adding a third star like Parsons to team with him and Dirk could give Dallas one of the more deadly offenses in the game.
Speaking of Dirk, no malicious intent at all on leaving him out of this discussion. But this was Dirk’s shot chart from last year. He may also be primed for another big year if this is any indication.
You get the idea. Playmakers and scorers across the board give Ellis a legitimate chance to become that All-Star-caliber player. He took that first step last season, and all he needed was Dirk.
Look at this roster, and think of all the possibilities that lie in front of Monta Ellis this upcoming season.