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Monta Ellis

Offseason, Strike 3: Dallas Mavericks Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Jose Calderon, SG Monta Ellis, SF Shawn Marion, PF Dirk Nowitzki, C Sam Dalembert
 
Key Bench Players: G/F Vince Carter, G/F Wayne Ellington, F Brandan Wright
 
Offseason Additions: Additions: Ellis, Calderon, Dalembert, PG Shane Larkin, G Ricky Ledo
 
Offseason Subtractions: SG Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo, C Chris Kaman, PG Darren Collison, PF Elton Brand
 
FACT OR FICTION: The Mavericks are a playoff team.
 
FACT, barely. Honest admission? I actually wrote “Fiction” before seeing that not only the MAMBINO aggregate has Cuban’s boys in the 8-slot, but your boy BK himself slid them in at 7.
 
But a closer look has made me realize that the West, by virtue of various reasons, has become very top heavy this year. Unlike years past, there isn’t going to be a solid 9-seed this season. Dallas will sneak by with guile, with heart, and under the tutelage of the most underrated coach in basketball: Alvy, a one-time contributor to the MAMBINO team.… Read more...

Instant (and Not So Instant) Trade Analysis: Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon to the Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks get: PG Jose Calderon (four years, $29 million) and G Monta Ellis (three years, $25 million)
 
In a move that says “why play defense when you can just not play defense”, the Dallas Mavericks capped off a very disappointing two summer run trying to get another free agent to add to 2011 Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki.
 
The Mavs doled out their first multi-year deals in two offseasons by adding what amounts to a starting guard rotation. Calderon and Ellis look like the starters at the moment, simply judging by their annual salaries, over rookie PG Shane Larkin (who broke his ankle last night in Summer League and looks to be out until October, at least).
 
On the surface, this is a series of somewhat puzzling moves for the Mavericks, who seem to be spending money just because they have it. It might seem that way because it’s not terribly far from the truth. In the past two years, the Mavericks have swung and missed at free agents like Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala and Deron Williams. To make matters worse, in order to do so they almost completely dismantled their 2011 title team, allowing C Tyson Chandler, G JJ Barea and G DeShawn Stevenson to all walk. Though that team was unlikely to repeat, they were essentially given no chance, as the pitiful 2011-2012 Mavericks were swept aside in the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder.… Read more...

Will the Jennings and Ellis Backcourt Work? – Milwaukee Bucks Preview

Starting Five: PG Brandon Jennings, G Monta Ellis, SF Ersan Ilyasova, PF Drew Gooden, C Samuel Dalembert

Key Bench Players: G Beno Udrih, SF Mike Dunleavey, SF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, PF/C Ekpe Udoh, F John Henson (14th overall pick)

Notable offseason additions: C Samuel Dalembert, PF John Henson

Offseason subtractions: F Jon Leuer, F John Brockman
In a lot of ways, the Milwaukee Bucks remind me of the New York Knicks. Both teams have so much talent and yet, I’m not sure if any of their pieces actually compliment each other.They’re both squads with a bunch of athletic scorers and rebounders, but I don’t know who’s going to pass these guys the ball or if any of them know how to defend without fouling. The comparisons stop there though: the Knicks might be a bunch of brash assholes with the ugliest tattooed starting five in the game that even the Bucks can’t compete with, but even their mismatched parts aren’t enough to keep their explosive talent out of the playoffs. The Bucks don’t have that luxury. And they’re in Wisconsin in the dead of winter. Buzz’s girlfriend, woof.

Ironically Milwaukee, pronounced Mily-walk-kay, is known in Algonquin as “The Good Land”. However, this land has been anything but good to the Bucks. They’ve made the playoffs a scant four times in the past decade, winning only seven postseason games and zero series. These playoff berths have actually been deceiving in regards to how much success they’ve had, as the Bucks have only finished over .500 twice in this stretch. Even in losing, the Bucks can’t do it right; they’ve only had a top 5 draft choice once, which they used on Andrew Bogut ahead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Milwaukee has been snake bitten in almost every regard, but mostly in that they’ve never been consistently bad enough to warrant wholesale changes or good enough to spend more money. They’ve just been fine.

Unfortunately for the Bucks, the 2012-2013 edition of their team isn’t going to change those fortunes. As I mentioned, this Bucks squad is full of mismatched parts that don’t necessarily complement each other. Starting with the most glaring potential problem is the backcourt tandem of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. On paper and in the box score, they look like extremely similar players:

2011-2012 Season
Jennings: 6’1″, 169 lbs, 20.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 6 apg, 3.1 turnovers pg, 19 FGA pg, 3.4 FTA pg,  43% shooting, 30% 3P, 81% FT

Ellis:  6’3″, 175 lbs, 19.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 5.5 apg, 2.2 turnovers pg, 17 FGA pg, 4.7 FTA pg, 42% shooting, 33% 3P, 81% FT

Essential… Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Bucks trade Bogut for Ellis

It’s amazing to think that tonight’s deal was the first actual trade since January 4th, when bench contributing forward Mareese Speights was dealt from Philadelphia, in a three way deal in which guard Xavier Henry ended up with the Hornets and Philly netted a couple 2nd round draft choices. With a furiously moving schedule, Linsanity, daily Dwight Howard trade demands and a trio of ex-Nuggets arriving from China, it’s hard to say that we noticed.  So thank you Milwaukee and Golden State for bringing back the true original Instant Trade Analysis.
The Good Land gets: G Monta Ellis, F Ekpe Udoh and C Kwame Brown
Golden State gets:  C Andrew Bogut and F Stephen Jackson

Every once in a while, something will come along that surprises you, like a 72 degree New York March day, or that fact that Steve Blake’s wife is really hot. No, this trade didn’t necessarily surprise me, as Bogut, Monta and S-Jax had asked out of their current situations in one way or another for a few weeks now. What was surprising is that deal seems to work for both teams.

For the Warriors, the goal was simple: give new coach Mark Jackson a defense-oriented center that the Warriors could build around. Bogut, who’s gigantic Aussie frame resembles something closer to a WWE powerhouse than a NBA player, has been essentially a walking MASH unit the past couple seasons, with a dislocated shoulder, broken hand, fractured ankle, sprained wrist and injured back. However, when healthy, he’s arguably the 3rd best center in the game, behind Dwight and Andrew Bynum.

On the other side of the deal, Stephen Jackson is registering near career-low numbers in every category after philosophical differences (which is sports code for “Jax doesn’t like that bald bastard who coaches him” and “Coach Skiles thinks Jackson is a lazy gunner who only cares depending on the situation”) have made him ride the pine for the Bucks. Jackson remains a very talented player, but at over $9.2 million this year and over $10 million the next, the small-market Bucks can’t afford to pay an unproductive whiner. Jackson might end up being a steal for the Warriors, because, as he’s shown in the past when he was unhappy in Indiana and, ironically, Golden State, his numbers take a distinct bump when he’s dealt to a different team. Perhaps a move back to the bay and out of Skiles’ system will reinvigorate the still-talented Captain Jack.

The Bucks are taking a bit more of a gamble here, but still get what they’ve been seeking to acquire for the past two years in Monta Ellis: points. Scoring production, pure and simple. Perimeter swingmen, including Jackson, have all failed to a certain degree in The Good Land, and GM John Hammond needed to do something drastic to get the scorer who can elevate one of the league’s worst offenses. The loss of Bogut was somewhat diminished when taking into account how snake-bitten the former first-overall pick’s been, but giving away the player that they selected over Chris Paul and Deron Williams still represents a loss in investment. Though Kwame was inserted into the deal for pure salary cap reasons, Ekpe Udoh is just 24, in his second season (after a broken hand affected his play his entire rookie year) and is a defense-first player. Of course he won’t replicate Bogut’s production, but he is a young project that could turn into a Tyson Chandler-like defensive difference-maker. Another plus to this trade is that the Bucks will now be around $14 mill
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