When Monta Ellis met with the media in Dallas after signing a three-year, $25 million deal with the Mavericks, they quite reasonably asked him about his hard-earned reputation as a volume shooter.
Ellis defiantly shot back that he would contine to play “Monta Basketball” (ie. shoot, and shoot often). According to owner Mark Cuban, however, Monta Ball might include more passing than anyone is anticipating.
Per the Star-Telegram:
“I think he wants to be a compliment to Dirk as opposed to being the guy,’’ owner Mark Cuban said after Sunday’s practice at American Airlines Center. “He’s a good passer, a willing passer and he gets where he wants to on the court. He’s committed to playing defense, he’s a willing learner and he’s a got a high basketball IQ.’’
Cuban believes Ellis — he signed a free agent contract with the Mavs this past summer — will benefit handsomely from many of the one-on-one teachings coach Rick Carlisle doles out to his players. “Once Rick realizes you have a high basketball IQ he’ll give you tons of discretions,’’ Cuban said. “We’ll play flow, which means just go out there and play basketball and take what the defense gives you. With Monta as a willing passer and his ability to get anywhere on the court, I think it’ll work in his favor in a huge way. If me watching (Sunday’s practice) out there is any indication, the only shots I saw him take were in the paint, and even when he got to the paint everything was a pass.’’
The Mavericks have been searching for someone to significantly reduce the offensive load on Dirk Nowtizki’s shoulders, and Monta Ellis was supposed to be that guy. Mark Cuban seems to think otherwise.
Whatever the case, “Monta Basketball” alongisde Dirk is going to be one fascinating experiment in Dallas.