There was a stretch in the beginning of the year when Monta Ellis was playing like a surefire All-Star. Since the Feb. 1 mark, however, he’s been miserable when it’s come to putting the ball in the net (38.5 percent shooting) and is avoiding media like the plague. There are also murmurs that his long-documented moodiness is cramping Dallas’ style.
Many of the shooting guard’s woes seemed to have started in February. In that month he averaged only 14.8 points on 38.9 shooting, well below the numbers he was posting in December (21.9 on 45.7 shooting). If you want to cringe, be warned, his three-point shooting has been horrendous.
For a man who has boasted to having it all, he hasn’t been contributing even some of late. As ESPN points out, it’s night like the undersized two-guard has time or a friendly contract on his side either.
Ellis’ lackluster play couldn’t come at a worse time, either, as the Mavs have fallen to seventh place out west and have the Thunder breathing down their neck. That could be a potential first-round matchup against Golden State and more surely one against an excellent Grizzlies team that has all the tools to beat them to a pulp.
And it’s all right there in his shot charts, Ellis has gone arctic cold.
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) March 23, 2015
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle isn’t laying the blame on Ellis, however:
“This is not a Monta Ellis shooting problem. This is a Dallas Mavericks hard-play problem, all right? We don’t play hard all the time. And that’s a problem.”
It can be said that acquiring Rajon Rondo, a ball-heavy guard who would surely relieve Ellis of a lot of the duties that had made him so good in Dallas, has hurt the Mavs clutch man. But Rondo joined the team well before Ellis went into a performance nosedive. So, Rondo doesn’t seem to be as much of a factor as people seem to think.
Really, it appears the Carlisle is onto something. Though Ellis is rightly in a slump, the Mavericks have also ranked 20th and 21st on offensive and defensive efficiency since the All-Star break. As Ellis’ storied career has shown, he happens to play to the level of talent (especially when efficiency is concerned) that surrounds him. With all of the Mavs in free fall, Ellis has followed suit.