The Impact of Monta Ellis in Indy
*Photo via USA Today
The only real splash the Indiana Pacers made this past offseason, was the signing of veteran guard Monta Ellis. Early on this season you could tell Ellis wasn’t exactly sure how to fit in with his new team. More than that, the Pacers as a whole weren’t exactly sure how to implement Ellis into their new style of offense. However, as the season has progressed Ellis seems to be finding his way on this team.
Over the last six weeks, Ellis has stepped up as the veteran leader of this Pacer ball club. He’s been seen mentoring young players such as Joe Young and Myles Turner from the sideline during stretches in game. Along with that he’s been taking control in the huddle by telling guys where to go and leading the way by example. On every team, you need a player who can lead on the court. With Monte’s recent success and leadership he’s become the real ball handler on this club. Ellis leads the Pacers with five assists per game, and over the course of the last twelve games he’s dishing out just over six assists per game. While Ellis is on the court this season, he’s been responsible for 35.6 percent of the team’s assists.
With Ellis as the ball handler it has freed up George Hill to play more off ball. Since being a Pacer, Hill has struggled mightily at times, when he’s tasked with running the offense. Not because he can’t, but more so for the reason he’s sloppy with the ball and plays with the mind of a shooting guard. With Ellis on the team, Hill has had one of his best shooting years from deep, shooting a career best 42 percent from three. This largely comes from Hill putting in extra effort in the gym. However, with Ellis ball handling and his ability to get to the basket, he frees up George Hill for good looks outside.
The Pacers have been somewhat mediocre over the last month or so while Paul George is going through his first real shooting slump of the season. The silver lining for the Pacers; once Georgeman rediscovers his groove offensively and players such as Rodney Stuckey return from injury, this Pacers team is likely to start streaking again like earlier in the season. An all of this stems from the signing and veteran leadership Monta Ellis, has already brought in this short time to the Pacers.