The Dallas Mavericks, like the Portland Trail Blazers, have started the season in surprising fashion, bolstering a mediocre defense with an explosive offense. Like Portland, fans in Oakland are privy to the nature of their highlight-making, havoc-wreaking guard. Monta Ellis is back! Remember the days when he was the Warriors best perimeter defender? When he put his mind to it, he was a lockdown guy, right? And when Joe Lacob took over and blah blah blah, we get it.
The narrative of Monta Ellis, at least in the world of bloggers, and those few who would like to think they know a bit about basketball, has been about the ball-stopping, tantalizingly talented, yet infuriating, player on both offense and defense. Perhaps that pendulum has swung too far. With Warriors fans realizing the importance of Bogut's defense, the cries of losing fan favorite Ellis have been silenced. But Monta has revitalized his oft-criticized career in Dallas.
It apparently took just a couple capable shooters (Jose Calderon and Shawn Marion) that spread the floor and a star player that also served as a willing passer (Dirk Nowitzki) to open up the offense to new heights.
Has anything changed in Ellis' game? Probably not. The numbers state he's been more efficient but still taking the same number of shots at the same spots on the floor. Difference? Ellis has been nailing those shots with alarming - at least for the Dubs today - consistency.
It isn't like he went out of his way to tailor his game to a Carlisle-based offense, per se. He even mentioned they needed more "Montaball" in the preseason. If anything, this is just a hyper-efficient, maybe, maybe not, flash-in-the-pan, pre-ankle-injury Monta Ellis.
Ya know, the Monta Ellis we collectively grew in love with. The one who took a full-court pass from Baron Davis and sunk the mid-range jay at the buzzer. The one who vanished in the postseason due to Don Nelson's sadistic mind games; only to resurface later as the team's best scorer. The same one that flat-out admitted the Warriors would not win with Stephen Curry and him in the same back court. The one who'd find a way to get the ball in the basket; even if it meant dribbling for 23.9 seconds, whirling through three defenders, only to finally put so much English on the ball, it French-kissed its way into the rim, nestling under the net, and us hearing the simultaneous roar of the crowd as it drowned out the ensuing whistle.
That Monta Ellis. He will always be someone we love, even if he wasn't someone we could live with.