Monta Ellis: Low Post Star?

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

When one thinks of the perimeter players that attack defenses from the post, Monta Ellis is not usually the first name that comes up.  However, the open court speedster has quietly developed a post game that is 2nd best in the NBA in points per possession, according to Synergy.  Yes, Ellis has been better in the post than Kobe, Lebron, Carmelo, and Joe Johnson, among others.  Ellis has spent less time in the post than those players, but his improvement in undeniable.

Head Coach Mark Jackson wanted to get more touches in the post for Ellis.  Not only did  Ellis increase his number of post-up possessions per game since last season, going from less than one to more than two, he has also become more efficient.  Let’s take a look at some of the moves in his arsenal.

The video below showcases Ellis’ fadeaway jumper.  Ellis has used his fadeaway on about half of his shot attempts from the post.  Despite his size, Ellis is able to back down his defender to set them up for the ensuing fadeaway.  He has the ability to make the shot turning over either his left or right shoulder.  Not knowing which direction Ellis is turning makes it difficult for the defender to challenge the shot.

The next video is an example of Ellis’ hook shot.  Unlike the fadeaway, he only shoots his hook turning over his left shoulder so he can use his right hand.  Ellis has made all four of the hook shots he’s attempted this season.

Finally, we see a very effective part of Ellis’ arsenal: his faceup game.  This allows him to use his quickness advantage over his defender; Monta’s spin move is particularly impressive.  Ellis has either scored or been fouled on six out of seven faceup post possessions (that’s 1.71 points per possession, an excellent number).

Monta has also done a solid job of passing out of hard double teams.  Ellis tends to go up with the shot unless the double team gets there fast.  He doesn’t always make the quickest decisions, but he has been able to find the open man on multiple occasions.  Ellis’ slow decision making is illustrated in the first clip where Marcus Camby brings a soft double team and it looks like Ellis is in trouble.  Ellis eventually makes a nice skip pass to the open Brandon Rush.  There are instances where Ellis misses the open man, but he rarely commits turnovers passing out of the post.

As you may have noticed in watching the videos, Ellis almost exclusively operated on the right block.  He has had only four post possessions from the left block this year.  If Ellis learns to work both sides of the court, defenses will have a harder time sending double teams and effectively defending the Warriors.


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