NBA: Three free agent signings who have had success


December 9, 2013

I’ve been sick as of late. My goal, at the beginning of the season, had been to publish weekly NBA content. That hasn’t been the case, but I’ll do my best to keep up with content. A month into the season, the Portland Trailblazers have been the most pleasant surprise, while either New York team could be considered the leagues biggest disappointment. Somehow a tanking 10-12 Celtics’ team has the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. That has to do with so many bad East teams (Sixers, Magic, Bucks, Raptors), but also it has to do with so many disappointing teams (Cavs, Knicks, Nets) and injuries (Bulls). Today I’m going to write about three players who are all on new teams: Monta Ellis, Marco Bellineli and Mo Williams.

Monta Ellis: Mark Cuban promised Dwight Howard for the Dallas Mavericks, instead he signed Monta Ellis, Sam Dalembert and Jose Calderon. Ellis has been a pleasant surprise for the Mavericks. Known as an overaggressive  scorer, Ellis has reinvented his game. He still struggles from 3, but he has been a nice P & R option with Dirk Nowitzki. Ellis has averaged 21.6 points a game, along with 5.7 assists. He hit a game winner against Portland on Saturday. Ellis usually isn’t afraid of the big moment, which should bode well for the Mavericks come April and May.

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As you can see from his shot chart, Ellis still struggles from 3, but he is a fairly efficient scorer from elsewhere. Ellis has always been a solid 2-point scorer. He has shot in the upper 40 percent for his career. Ellis just has never played with a scorer like Dirk Nowitzki.

I’ll share three photos from a play that resulted in a long jumper from Dirk Nowitzki last month.

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Simple pick and pop. Ellis draws a defender away from Nowitzki–freeing Dirk for the open shot.

Ellis will continue to do good things like this for the Mavericks.

Dallas is currently 13-8, and in 6th place in the Western Conference. The offense has been steady, but their defense struggles at times. Some of that has to do with the small backcourt.

Two thing are for sure however–this Mavericks team can score the basketball, and they are tough to beat in Dallas.

Marco Belinelli: This might have been my favorite free agent signing this offseason. Belinelli has thrived in his new role with the Spurs as the new Gary Neal. Belinelli can handle the ball and knock down three pointers at a high level. The Spurs play every player on their roster 7+ minutes a night. Belinelli should help San Antonio tremendously come playoff time. Belinelli is shooting above 50 percent from three, and as you will see from his shot chart he has flourished with his new team.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4mrIIvcfGY —Here are highlights against the Sixers last month. Belinelli just balls. He reminds me so much of Manu Ginobili. The Spurs have a crafty playmaker that will substantially help them this postseason.

Mo Williams: The Blazers have been such a wonderful surprise. The starting five always had potential, especially with Damian Lillard coming into the mix. But now Portland has an actual NBA bench! Mo Williams leads the improved bench. Williams averages close to 9 points and 4.4 assists per game. He has been a great backup to Lillard. Although Portland has been without first rounder CJ McCollum who has similar size to Williams. That’ll be an interesting dynamic–to see how Portland will use McCollum, Williams and Lillard. But for now, basketball fans should appreciate Mo Williams. Williams has always been a gifted scorer and playmaker. He played well for Utah last season, but was not part of their rebuilding project.

Williams has always been an underrated NBA player. Check out this basketball-reference gem that I found. (I love that website way too much.)

Eight players in NBA history have had a season with 17+points, 4+assists, .91+ FT percentage and 120+ 3-pointers made.

Steve Nash, Chauncey Billups (twice), Mark Price, Ray Allen, Stephen Curry, Mahmoud Adbul-Rauf and Mo Williams.

Random… I know. But figured it was worth mentioning.

Williams should continue to provide the Blazers that much needed boost off the bench.

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