Role for Mavs in 2013-14:Monta Ellis is the latest in a line of sidekicks for Dirk Nowitzki. He might be the most dynamic scorer ever to partner with the face of the Mavs’ franchise. He’s definitely the most explosive off the dribble.
The question on Ellis, who will start at shooting guard and hopefully won’t play much point guard, is whether he can refine his game to be efficient. He acknowledges that he settled for way too many jumpers in Milwaukee, where he shot just 41.6 from the floor last season and shot the lowest 3-point percentage in the league among qualifiers. The Mavs want Ellis attacking the basket, in transition and in halfcourt sets, where he’ll frequently be featured in a pick-and-pop pairing with Nowitzki. Ellis is an underrated passer who could put up career-best assist totals while playing in Rick Carlisle’s flow system and being surrounded by shooters.
What happened this summer?: After turning down a three-year, $36 million extension offer from Milwaukee and opting out instead of playing for $11 million this season, Ellis didn’t find the interest he hoped in the free agency market. He fired his longtime agent, Jeff Fried, and hired Dan Fegan, who helped Ellis land a three-year, $25 million deal with Dallas. The Mavs only made that offer after learning that Devin Harris needed toe surgery, which led the parties to mutually agree to take his three-year, $9 million deal off the table.
What does the future hold?: Ellis' contract includes a player option for the third season, so he’ll likely hit the market again in the summer of 2015 unless he reaches a deal on an extension with the Mavs. There’s the possibility of Ellis being a piece in a blockbuster deal, but the odds are much better than Ellis will play a critical role in Dallas for at least the next two seasons.