Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Stats: 36.3 MPG, 19.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 5.7 APG, 46.3 FG%, 31.4 3P%
I once was lost, but now I am found.
The Milwaukee chucker is no more or at least is almost gone. Having been rescued from the toxic Bucks situation, Monta Ellis seems to have been resurrected.
Since last season, he is shooting nearly five percent better from the floor and three percent better from deep while still scoring 19 points per game. Yet this year he's taking two fewer shots and getting to the line more often.
The guy who was once the epitome of a bad shot-taker is now a lynchpin in one of the NBA's best offenses. It seems like night and day when watching him play now compared to the past. Where once he took horrendous shot after horrendous shot, he now probes the defense and finds weak spots. He plays within the system and consistently creates offense.
Ellis went from a pariah to the second-best player on the league's fourth-most efficient offense.
And maybe just as important as his offensive renaissance is his energy. While he is not a stellar defender, he can bring the hustle. He flies around the court, trying to disrupt offenses, and he's collecting almost two steals per game because of that.
Now of course having him run around all the time can be taxing for team defense, but this aging team could always use some young legs—if you can even call a 28-year-old Ellis young.
All that being said, he has cooled off as of late and has been inconsistent. He is still prone to off nights like the 5-of-16 performance for 14 points against Memphis a week ago, and he hasn't totally shed his bad shooting habits. But he is definitely making strides.
In the end, he is very close to averaging 20 points, six assists and two steals per game. The only other guy in the league doing that right now is John Wall.
Welcome to Monta Ellis 2.0.