Is there something in the air in Milwaukee? It certainly seems that way if you take a look at and evaluate the way Monta Ellis has led the Milwaukee Bucks in March.
The erratic shooting guard finished February on a high note, dropping 27 points, 13 assists, six rebounds and six steals on the Houston Rockets, including this incredible (read: lucky) game-winner.
In the month of March, Ellis has shown something that is hardly ever related with the 27-year-old — efficiency. We all know how much Monta loves to jack up contested jumpers and put points on the scoreboard, but he very rarely does so in a way that is beneficial to his team. Take a look at his short chart of this season (viewer discretion is strongly advised):
Gulp. For those unfamiliar with NBA.com short charts – red is bad. Like really bad. All the areas on the floor marked in red denote that the player is shooting below league average from that particular spot. Yellow signifies a shooting percentage just slightly above the average, while green indicates a significantly higher shooting percentage.
The seven games the Bucks have played this month have been a whole other story. Ellis is putting up 27.4 points and 6.4 assists per game. What is really admirable is his 54.3% field goal percentage. Take a look at his chart from the last seven games:
Lots of green in this one, and green is money. His 28.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc is not particularly appealing, but you can’t have it all with Monta.
This kind of a hot streak is just what Milwaukee needs in order to improve their playoff position. Unfortunately, despite Ellis’ terrific performances, the Bucks are only 4-3 this month. Brandon Jennings is also averaging a double-double with 15.4 points and 11.6 assists in March.
Although Ellis has shown signs of efficiency earlier in his career (averaged 53.1 FG% in 2007-08), it is most likely just a matter of time before he starts stringing together ill-advised jumpers, so the Bucks better get the most out of him while he is red-hot.