Monta Ellis Glad to Be with Dallas Mavericks, Playing Relevant Basketball Again

Jim CavanContributor IMarch 10, 2014

Dallas Mavericks' head coach Rick Carlisle, right, talks things over with Monta Ellis, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Philadelphia. The Mavericks won 124-112. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

From hardwood to Hollywood, everyone loves a good redemption story.

For the Dallas MavericksMonta Ellis, it took a full seven years to get back to a joyous place.

In a recent interview with ESPN Dallas’ Tim MacMahon, Ellis was effusive in his praise for the Mavericks organization, saying he hasn’t been this happy on the basketball court since 2007, when the Golden State Warriors stunned his current team in the first round of the playoffs.

I cherish my great years that I had at Golden State. The bad ones that I had, it took me so far in a deep hole that at some point basketball wasn't even basketball to me. It was more of a business. Being away and coming here really brought joy back to me, to want to enjoy the game and love to be in the gym and work and want to get better.

And get better he has: Long known as one of the NBA’s most shameless gunners, Ellis has recalibrated his game to fit Dallas’ pass-happy offense, now the third most efficient in the league.

Judging by Ellis’ individual improvements, we’re pretty sure the scenery suits him better this year.

Dallas Baller's Club
YearPointsFT AttempsTS%PER
2012-13 (MIL)
2013-14 (DAL)

In a piece titled The Revenge of Monta Ellis, Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry unpacked precisely what has made Ellis 2012-13 such an enthralling tale of basketball redemption.

Ellis has never really played for a good team. But he’s in Dallas now, and he suddenly finds himself playing for Rick Carlisle and alongside talented veterans like Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, and Jose Calderon. His PER is the highest it has ever been, and through the first week of the season it looks like Ellis is a new player — but he’s not. The inconvenient truth for analysts is that he’s the exact same human being just splashed into an extremely different, and much more efficient, ecosystem.

As of this writing, the Mavs sit a game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies for the West’s eighth and final playoff spot—the very place from which the Warriors commenced their magical run all those years ago.

That's one Hollywood sequel we'd all sign up for.

Barring any future trade, Monta's contract will keep him in Dallas through the 2016 season. Dirk Nowitzki, on the other hand, will become a free agent this summer.

Building your team exclusively around Monta Ellis is never a good idea, but he's at least proving himself to be a worthy second or third fiddle.