It’s been a year and a half since the Golden State Warriors traded Monta Ellis, owner Joe Lacob was ruthlessly booed by the fans, and somehow, someway, the Warriors have become one of the most popular and up-and-coming teams in the league.
Tonight, the Warriors will catch up with their former star as they take on Ellis and the Dallas Mavericks in the second game of a four-game road trip. It has been a rocky road for Ellis since being traded to Milwaukee in the spring of 2012. After a couple of not-so-pleasant years with the Bucks, Ellis has seemingly found a home in Dallas, signing a three-year contract with the Mavericks in the offseason.
He is putting up some good numbers (23.5 points per game, 49.6 percent on field goals), but more importantly, he has developed chemistry with his teammates, unlike with his previous teams. In Golden State, he had to share the ball with Stephen Curry. In Milwaukee, it was Brandon Jennings. Both Curry and Jennings are shoot-first guards, and coupling them with one of the most trigger-happy guards in the league in Ellis did not work out particularly well.
But in Dallas, Ellis is starting alongside Jose Calderon in the frontcourt, and Calderon is more than comfortable with sharing the ball.
“I’m not a point guard who really needs the ball a lot so I am able to give him the ball for him to make plays,” Calderon told Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. “He is scoring the ball and he is passing the ball as well, and I can be a spot up shooter as well. It’s a good combo; I don’t need the ball all the time so he feels, in that situation, that he is even more involved.”
Plus, Ellis isn’t the “go-to” guy in Dallas — a role that he took on with the Warriors — because the Mavericks have a guy named Dirk Nowitzki. In many ways, perhaps the Mavericks are the right fit for Ellis, as he doesn’t have to carry the load.
Look for Ellis to try and torch his former team tonight. If his career average against the Warriors (21.3 points per game) is any indication, he just might.