Monta Ellis has never been accused of being too unselfish. Until now, that is. After struggling in his last three preseason games, shooting 10-for-36 and turning the ball over 11 times, the Dallas Mavericks guard said his problem is that he hasn't been attacking enough, via ESPN Dallas' Tim McMahon:
"I think I'm looking for the pass too much," Ellis said after Wednesday's win over the Atlanta Hawks' backups, when he had 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting, five assists and six turnovers. "I've got to be more aggressive attacking the basket, getting a couple to go down and then work to see how the defense changes."
"There's a lot of shots that's been there and I've been making the late pass," Ellis said. "I think the majority of my turnovers come because instead of me taking that shot or making the layup, I try to pass. I've got to get out of that. I've got to be more aggressive and make the defense move."
While there could be credence to Ellis' claim -- one of the challenges of adapting to a new team is figuring out how to play instinctively at the same time as fitting into the offense -- this is an unusual assessment of his troubles. Critiques of Ellis' offensive game generally have to do with his propensity to launch ill-advised shots at the expense of setting up his teammates. Historically this has been particularly problematic because when he does look to pass the ball, it works out favorably for his team. Ellis has always been able to attract defensive attention and then dump the ball off to teammates for open looks, but it's putting it mildly to say that's never been his first priority.
Things got off to a good start this preseason for Ellis, who averaged 13.3 points, 7.3 assists and just 1.5 turnovers on 54.3 percent shooting over his first four games with Dallas. The Mavericks will need Ellis to find the right balance if they're going to have a successful season.