Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Monta Ellis can't shoot threes. Everyone knows that ... except Monta Ellis.
Or does he?
In his first four games with the Dallas Mavericks, Ellis, who is a career 31.8 percent shooter from downtown, has shied away from shooting from long range in favor of slashing to the basket.
He has attempted nine threes, including just one in each of the last two games.
The approach has resulted in two 30-point games, a .531 shooting percentage and 32 free throws, of which he has made 29.
Ellis took just 29.3 percent of his shots at the rim last season. When he scored a career-high 25.5 ppg during the 2009-10 season, 33 percent of his field-goal attempts came at the rim. He averaged 6.1 free-throw attempts in 2009-10, compared to 4.6 last season.
Right now, Ellis looks closer to that 2009-10 player than the 2012-13 one.
His field-goal percentage also has been boosted by tremendous shooting on the long 2-pointer he likes to take off the dribble. He's not going to stay so hot on those shots all season, so his efficiency will wane just a bit.
But Dallas' floor spacing is also better than anything Ellis has seen in his career.
With Dirk Nowitzki, Jose Calderon, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter around him, there have been plenty of enticing lanes for Ellis to drive through.
He should continue to take that option more frequently than he has in the past three seasons, which will help the Dallas guard to have one of the best seasons of his career.
And when he does shoot threes, hopefully it will only be when Calderon sets him up with a wide open look, which happened on both of his 3-point makes in the season opener against the Hawks.