Monta Ellis (/ˈmɒnteɪ/ MON-tay; born October 26, 1985) is an American professional basketball player who last played for the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Ellis entered the 2005 NBA draft directly after graduating from Lanier High School in Jackson, Mississippi, where he was drafted with the 40th overall pick by the Golden State Warriors. He was traded from Golden State to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2012 where he played one full season before signing with the Dallas Mavericks in 2013. He became a free agent in 2015 before signing with the Pacers.
High school career
Ellis scored his career-high 72 points in a game against Greenwood High School. As a junior, he scored 42 points in an 80–75 loss against renowned high school basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy and their future NBA duo that consisted of point guard Rajon Rondo and forward Josh Smith. His 42 points set a new record for the most points scored against Oak Hill. In his senior season, he scored 42 points in a game against South Gwinnett High School in which he was guarded by Louis Williams. Ellis led Lanier to a 129–16 record in his four seasons as a starter, winning the 4A state championship in both 2002 (33–5) and 2005 (35–2, ranked #12 nationally by USA Today) and runner-up finishes in 2003 (31–4) and 2004 (30–5). He scored a total of 4,167 points in his prep career, making him second all-time in Mississippi history. He received first-team all-state recognition from the Clarion-Ledger in all four of his high school seasons and was named Mississippi's "Mr. Basketball" by the paper in 2005.
Considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com, Ellis was listed as the No. 2 shooting guard and the No. 3 player in the nation in 2005. Ellis originally committed to Mississippi State University, but later decided to enter the NBA draft.
Golden State Warriors (2005–2012)
Ellis was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft with the 40th overall pick. He scored his first points on December 7, 2005 against the Phoenix Suns on a three-point shot and was inserted into the starting lineup late in the 2005–06 NBA season, along with fellow rookie Ike Diogu. Ellis finished his rookie season with averages of 6.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 18.1 minutes per game.
On January 31, he was selected to play in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge during the NBA's All-Star weekend. He scored 28 points in a win for the sophomore team on 13 for 16 shooting. He was edged out by David Lee for the game's MVP honors.
On April 26, he received the NBA's Most Improved Player Award after averaging 16.5 points per game, an increase from his average of 6.8 points per game as a rookie, edging out Sacramento Kings shooting guard Kevin Martin by three votes. Ellis' points-per-game average compared to the previous season (6.8 to 16.5), an increase of 9.7, beat out Martin's increase of 9.4 (10.8 to 20.2).
Ellis was part of the rotation of the Warriors as they defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs, becoming the first eighth-seeded team to beat a top-seeded team in a best-of-seven series. The Warriors then lost in the Western Conference semi-finals to the Utah Jazz 4–1.
On January 24, 2008, Ellis scored 39 points (13-for-18 shooting from the field, 13-for-14 free-throw shooting) against the New Jersey Nets, one year to the day of his first ever game-winning shot, which also came against the Nets.
Ellis became the ninth guard in league history to average at least 20 points per game while averaging 60 percent from the field in a single month after making 60.2 percent of his shots in February 2008. He was named the Western Conference Player of the Month and was presented with the honor by assistant coach Sidney Moncrief, one of the eight other players to achieve the feat. The other guards who accomplished this were John Stockton, Ricky Pierce, Earl Monroe, Jim Paxson, Fred Brown, Sidney Moncrief, Brad Davis and Steve Nash. Ellis also scored over 30 points in the month of February for four games straight.
Ellis finished the season averaging 20.2 points per game while shooting a career-high average 53.1% from the field.
On July 25, 2008, Ellis signed a six-year, $67 million contract extension with the Warriors, making him the highest paid player on the team.
On August 26, 2008, it was revealed that Ellis had torn a ligament in his left ankle. Ellis underwent successful surgery on August 27 to repair a torn deltoid ligament in his left ankle, after he informed the club that he had injured himself working out. However, as was suspected during weeks of speculation, it was revealed that he was injured in a moped accident. Because dangerous activity such as this violates Paragraph 12 of his player contract, Golden State's organization opted to suspend Ellis for 30 games, the approximate number of games he expected to miss. Initial reports stated that he would be out for at least three months from the date of his ankle surgery, although because of the suspension the earliest Ellis could play in a game was December 26. Ellis returned from his injury on January 23 in a home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and scored 20 points with three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block.
Ellis finished the season with averages of 19.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in just 25 games.
Ellis had his best year scoring-wise during the 2009–10 NBA season. He finished with a career-high average of 25.5 points per game, while adding 4.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists.
On October 27, 2010, Ellis recorded a career-high 46 points (18-of-24 FG, 1-of-2 3pt, 9-of-12 FT) with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in Golden State's 132–128 win over the Houston Rockets. On December 14, Ellis poured in 34 points on 13-of-24 shooting during the Warriors' 108–99 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. On December 20, Ellis scored 44 points (15-of-20 FG, 3-of 4 3pt, 11-of-14 FT) with a rebound, 7 assists, 2 steals, and played 42 minutes despite a 112–121 loss at home vs. the Houston Rockets. He subsequently won Player of the Week honors. On January 19, 2011, Ellis nailed a jumper with 0.6 seconds remaining on the clock, giving the Warriors a thrilling 110–108 victory over the Indiana Pacers. After scoring just two points in the first quarter, Ellis helped carry the Warriors to victory, finishing with 36 points on 16-of-28 shooting. The effort marked his 12th 30+ point game of the season. Ellis finished the season with averages of 24.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game.
On February 7, 2012, Ellis scored a new career-high 48 points (18-of-29 FG, 3-of-6 3pt, 9-of-10 FT) with 7 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block in a 119–116 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Ellis was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played March 5 through March 11.
Milwaukee Bucks (2012–2013)
On March 13, 2012, Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, and Kwame Brown were traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. Ellis played his first game as a Buck the day after the trade, against his old team, the Golden State Warriors, at Oracle Arena. Making his debut in the starting lineup, he had 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Ellis averaged 20.4 points and 6.0 assists on the season.
On February 27, 2013, Ellis made a game-winning three-pointer against the Houston Rockets.
On March 17, 2013, Ellis scored 39 points (13-of-22 FG, 5-of-6 3pt), including 25 in the fourth quarter (19 in the final six minutes, 5-of-5 3pt), the most any player has scored in a period that season, dished out 5 assists and grabbed 6 rebounds in a win against the Orlando Magic.
Ellis finished the season with averages of 19.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game. He helped the Bucks reach the Eastern Conference playoffs where they lost 4-0 to the Miami Heat in the first round.
Dallas Mavericks (2013–2015)
On October 30, 2013, in his Mavericks debut, Ellis recorded 32 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds in a win against the Atlanta Hawks. His 32 points are most ever by a player making his Mavericks debut. On November 20, 2013, Ellis scored 37 points (13-of-18 FG) and served eight assists in a comeback victory over the Houston Rockets.
On December 7, 2013, Ellis made a buzzer-beating game-winning jumper against the Portland Trail Blazers. He finished with 22 points (9-of-18 FG, 2-of-3 3pt), 4 assists and steal.
On April 14, 2014, Ellis won Western Conference Player of the Week honors for the week of April 7 to 13 after averaging 25.7 points (32-of-62 FG, 4-of-9 3pt) and 4.7 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal in three games, including a 37-point (15-of-23 FG) performance in a 101–98 playoff-clinching win over the Phoenix Suns. Dirk Nowitzki was the Western Conference Player of the Week the previous week, marking the first time in Mavericks history two teammates won consecutive Player of the Week honors.
Ellis, along with Dirk Nowitzki, largely contributed to the Mavericks' 49-win season that helped them reach the eighth seed in the 2014 NBA Playoffs. He led the team in minutes (36.9 per game), assists (5.7), and steals (1.7) and was second in points (19.0). In their first round series loss to the San Antonio Spurs, he led the Mavericks with 20.4 points per game over seven games.
On December 2, 2014, Ellis scored 38 points, his high with the Mavericks, in a double-overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls. He made three free throws with 1.2 seconds left in regulation to tie the game to send it into overtime. The next night, Ellis hit an off-balance fadeaway at the buzzer to beat his former team, the Milwaukee Bucks, 107–105. Ellis tied his season-high of 38 points on December 20, 2014 against the San Antonio Spurs in a 99–93 win. Ellis led the Mavericks to a 50-win season and the No. 7 seed in the 2015 NBA Playoffs. His 18.9 points per game was a team high, marking the first time since the 1999–2000 season that somebody other than Dirk Nowitzki led the team in scoring.
On June 24, following the 2014–15 season, Ellis opted out of his contract with the Mavericks, becoming a free agent.
Indiana Pacers (2015–2017)
On July 14, 2015, Ellis signed a four-year, $44 million contract with the Indiana Pacers. He made his debut for the Pacers in the team's season opener against the Toronto Raptors on October 28, recording 9 points and six assists in a 106–99 loss. On November 8, he scored a then season-high 25 points in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. On December 11, Ellis recorded 24 points, six assists and six steals in a 96–83 win over the Miami Heat that ended a three-game losing streak. On December 28, he scored a season-high 26 points in a 93–87 win over the Atlanta Hawks. On January 10, he recorded 11 points and a season-high 13 assists in an overtime loss to the Houston Rockets. He had another all-round game on January 28, recording 25 points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals in a 111–92 win over the Hawks. Two days later, in a 109–105 overtime win over the Denver Nuggets, Ellis scored 32 points for his first 30-point game as a Pacer.
In the Pacers' season opener on October 26, 2016, Ellis recorded 19 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals in a 130–121 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks. He missed five games in December with a strained right groin.
On July 6, 2017, Ellis was waived by the Pacers.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|*||Led the league|
In 2012, a former Golden State Warriors employee reached a settlement in a sexual harassment lawsuit against the team and Ellis that alleged Ellis sent her unwanted texts that included a photo of his genitals.