DALLAS -- Monta Ellis' uncanny ability to put the ball in the basket is legendary. But what a lot of folks fail to realize is that Ellis is a better than average defensive player.
However, when Ellis signed a three-year, $25 million free agent contract with the Dallas Mavericks last summer, coach Rick Carlisle filled the nine-year veteran guard in on what he expected from him on the defensive end of the floor.
"We have a different system than he’s played in,'' Carlisle said. "That’s something I talked about it with him in August when I went to see him that the expectations were going to be different because our style was different.
"He was going to have to move away from some things that had been habits, and he’s worked to do it. He’s improved a lot defensively, he gives us a quickness and a dynamic anticipatory element to our team that we haven’t had really since I’ve been here.''
In addition to averaging 18.9 points and a team-high 5.8 assists per game, Ellis is ninth in the NBA with 1.81 steals per game. Indeed, Carlisle marvels at Ellis' uncanny abilities on the defensive end of the court.
"Jason Kidd had great knowledge and he had great hands and stuff like that, but he wasn’t as quick as Monta Ellis,'' Carlisle said. "They’re different kinds of players, but he’s been huge for us.''
-- Dwain Price
Follow me on Twitter