DALLAS, Texas - Tyler Seguin and Monta Ellis do not exactly look much alike, and they play different sports, but they are like twins ... only a lot different. In the summer of 2013, the two teams that play in the Monopoly Airlines Center (MAC) acquired the services of these two guys in head-scratching deals that have since paid off big.
The Date: July 4, 2013
The Deal: The Stars sent Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser to the Boston Bruins for Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button.
The Fear: That Seguin was a talented punk who would never get it through his skull, and would rather party with the many college kids around the Boston area than become a great NHL player.
The Reality: In 80 games with the Stars, Seguin scored 37 goals with 47 assists for 84 points. He was a plus-16.
Along with Jamie Benn, Seguin gives the Stars two of the most dynamic forwards in the league and a scoring combination that should produce for several years.
It was never a question of talent for Seguin - he was the second overall pick of the 2010 NHL draft - rather more maturity. By all accounts he is surrounded by a group of young pros on the Stars who want to be just that - pros. In Boston, where most of his teammates were veterans with families, Seguin was a bit alone and surrounded himself with the rich kids who attended many of Boston's private universities.
This trade by GM Jim Nill, along with the drafting of Valeri Nichushkin, are two of the bigger reasons this team is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
The Date: July 23, 2013
The Deal: The Dallas Mavericks signed free agent shooting guard Monta Ellis to a three-year deal worth $25 million.
The Fear: That Ellis, who previously had played for losers in Milwaukee and Golden State, would be an example of a guy who scored a lot of points on several shots and would not be committed to defense the way Mavs' head coach Rick Carlisle wants.
The Reality: Ellis has averaged 19 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists this season, and provided the type of secondary scorer Dirk Nowitzki has not had since Jason Terry during the 2011 NBA Playoffs.
Carlisle commended Ellis's work ethic, and said Monday he is the biggest reason why this team has made such a big jump from last year to now.
Any questions that Ellis could not be a quality scorer on a quality team have been answered. He is not simply a volume scorer, and scored points because no one else on his team could. He is this team's best penetrator, can create, and shoot.
"I don't have to do as much creating; back in the days, if there was a switch, we just give me the ball on the elbow and it was a wrap," Dirk said Monday when I asked him if Ellis has taken the pressure off him to score. "With Monta, he's creating and doing most of the grinding. He's in his prime. He's 28. He got the experience from the first couple of years. He's right there. We put a lot of load on him, the scoring load, and he's come through for us. He's been spectacular."
A lot of Dirk's praise could apply to Seguin. Both Seguin and Ellis were gambles, both paid off, and are two of the biggest reasons why the MAC will be open for business in the playoffs.
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