Monta Ellis 2016 Season Review

Monta Ellis reflected on the accomplishments of the Pacers this season and shared his plans for the summer.

Monta Ellis 2016 Review Playlist

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Monta Ellis 2016 Season Review

Monta Ellis reflected on the accomplishments of the Pacers this season and shared his plans for the summer.
May 23, 2016  |  02:14

Monta Ellis 2015-16 Season Highlights

Check out these top plays from Pacers guard Monta Ellis from the 2015-16 season.
May 23, 2016  |  02:33

Player Review 2016: Monta Ellis

by Mark Montieth Writer

Age: 30
Years pro: 11
Status: Has three years remaining on his contract, with the final year a player option.
Key stats: Averaged 13.8 points on 43 percent shooting, including 31 percent from the 3-point line. Averaged 4.7 assists, 2.5 turnovers and a team-high 1.9 steals.

Monta Ellis didn't meet the expectations of most people after coming to the Pacers last season. And that wasn't all bad.

Most long distance observers of Ellis thought of him as a capable scorer who wouldn't bring much else to the team other than an occasional steal or two. As it turned out, he was an erratic scorer, a daring playmaker, a decent defender and a … drum roll, please … leader.

Ellis was the most vocal of all the Pacers, the closest they had to a rah-rah guy – which was surprising given his introverted nature around everyone else. He usually made quick and quiet escapes from the locker room after games so he wouldn't have to speak with reporters. When cornered after a strong performance he gave direct answers, but usually with his back turned slightly away from the interrogator, occasionally casting shy glances over his shoulder. Yet, he "took over the locker room" in two days according to some front office officials, and not in a bad way. He led the players huddles after pre-game introductions, and occasionally sat in the head coach's seat during timeouts to lecture his teammates while the coaches conferred behind him on the court.

GALLERY: Monta Ellis' Season in Photos »

Team president Larry Bird was looking for a bold, aggressive guard who would thrive in an uptempo offense when he signed Ellis last summer, and he got one. But probably not one as consistent as he had hoped. Ellis' field goal percentage (43) was among the lowest of his career, and his 3-point percentage (31) probably wasn't high enough to justify taking 3 ½ of them per game. He was the team's best playmaker as far as getting into the lane and making something happen, but also turnover prone. He was outstanding at attacking the basket in transition, but sometimes failed to finish.

Frank Vogel's offense split the ballhandling duties between Ellis and George Hill for most of the season, but made Ellis the more exclusive quarterback down the stretch of the regular season schedule to free up Hill as a 3-point shooter. That seemed to help the offense function better. Ellis, however, remained slightly suspect in the playoffs, when he averaged 4.3 assists and 2.4 turnovers. A 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is the benchmark for point guards.

PLAYER REVIEWS: Read More Season Recaps »

Ellis was perhaps the Pacers' most erratic player last season, partly because he was still recovering from offseason knee surgery when it began. He scored 20 or more points 16 times, but hit 30 percent or less of his field goal attempts when attempting at least eight shots in 15 games. He seemed as equally capable of winning a game for them as losing one.

Ellis is much like Hall of Famer Allen Iverson in that he plays hard, plays hurt and plays without fear. He’s also like Iverson in that he's not regarded as a warrior during practice or his off-season training, preferring to save his physical output for game days. He only missed one game all season, the last one at Milwaukee, when Vogel gave him a night off for rest. He has a lot of miles on legs that will be 31 years old when next season begins, having entered the NBA directly out of high school. An 11-year veteran, he's played 27,013 regular season minutes, nearly 4,000 more than Rik Smits played in 12 seasons for the Pacers.

DRAFT CENTRAL: The Latest Pacers News On The 2016 Draft »

Ellis has entered a new phase of his career as a plus-30 player. He would be wise to train more and take care of his body better in the off-season rather than continuing to rely on skill, athleticism and courage. He's under contract for three more seasons, and will be challenged to remain productive during that time.

He'll also be challenged to remain visible. Bird said in the press conference to introduce Nate McMillan as head coach that he would like to get a "true" point guard. That obviously casts an implication on Ellis, who never has been one but has always been able to score enough to make coaches not care. Now would be a good time for Ellis to pay more attention to his body and his shooting touch if he wants to keep it that way.

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Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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