Week four power rankings are in, and this week has some fun moves up and down to discuss - including our dear little plucky Dallas Mavericks.
Let's get right to it...
- Beating the Rockets did a lot for the Mavs in these rankings, and as you'll see from the quotes below, Monta's stat lines have not gone unnoticed. I'll be interested to see how far down the Mavs might tumble after that loss to Denver and a tough slate ahead. If they can beat the Warriors, that will do a lot to solidify their spot firmly within the top eight.
- The Mavs also seem to be kind of the dividing line between "these teams in some order" for the top 6 or 7 and "we don't quite know what to do with these teams."
- Speaking of the Warriors, their rank reflects a few games played without Stephen Curry. It's been really interesting to see how, despite all their perceived firepower, Curry is THAT important to them. It also makes it nice to see how there appears to be a second option in Dallas now beside Dirk, which would help in the event of either Monta or Dirk being injured. Steph is back in action for the Warriors now, but Iguodala will still be out.
- The Jazz solidly maintain their spot in the "catch us if you can" tanking race, despite their best efforts to defeat the Mavs this past week. The 76ers continue their climb to the bottom, and the Nets and Bucks are doing their best to get down there as well -- though with the latter two teams, I don't think that was exactly the plan.
- The Trail Blazers, ummm....seem legit, no?
MONTA ELLIS HAVE IT ALL. Ellis has been incredibly awesome this season, with averages of 23.6 points and 5.4 assists. And most important, he has been efficient! This dude must have been really checked out in Milwaukee.
You could almost look at Monta Ellis' assist numbers to know if the Mavs won or lost. They're 8-0 when he's recorded five or more dimes and 1-5 when he's had four or less. His two assists to Shawn Marion that put the Mavs ahead in the final two minutes of Wednesday's win over the Rockets were particularly sharp. Fifty-seven of Ellis' 76 assists have come in the restricted area or from 3-point range.
Gotta go all the way back to 1999-2000 for the last time Dirk Nowitzki didn't lead the Mavs in scoring. Yet I assure you he's happier than anyone that Monta Ellis has been everything Dallas could have hoped for -- so far. For a long, long time, Dirk has wanted a sidekick who can get his own shot.
They still have to play vulnerable defenses to make up for their own very vulnerable defense, but they also can close like demons out of a hell gate. You cannot let them hang (talking to you, Houston).