DALLAS -- Monta Ellis finds himself in a bit of an offensive funk as the Mavs enter their final preseason game.
Ellis, the Mavericks' explosive new shooting guard who arrived in Dallas with a rap for being inefficient, is 10-of-36 from the floor and has committed 11 turnovers in his past three games. He's confident, however, that he knows how to get back in his groove from the first four games of the preseason.
"I think I'm looking for the pass too much," Ellis said after Wednesday's win over the Atlanta Hawks' backups, when he had 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting, five assists and six turnovers. "I've got to be more aggressive attacking the basket, getting a couple to go down and then work to see how the defense changes."
Ellis, who ranks fourth in the NBA with 43 assists this preseason, isn't saying he needs to be selfish. He just believes that he's been looking to pass too much instead of attacking and reacting.
"There's a lot of shots that's been there and I've been making the late pass," Ellis said. "I think the majority of my turnovers come because instead of me taking that shot or making the layup, I try to pass. I've got to get out of that. I've got to be more aggressive and make the defense move."
Ellis averaged a career-high 6.0 assists per game for the Milwaukee Bucks last season, when he split his time between shooting guard and point guard. The Mavs don't plan for him to play much point guard, but he expects to at least equal that assist total simply because of the scoring threats around him.
All scorers are going to have off shooting nights, but shot selection is the key for Ellis. His percentages tend to plummet when he launches a lot of long jumpers, such as his 3-of-13 performance Monday in Houston, when he was 0-of-6 from 3-point range and also missed some long 2s.
The Mavs want Ellis attacking off the dribble as much as possible. They'll set a bunch of screens to give him the best possible chance of getting in the paint and creating, a knack Ellis has that prompts Dirk Nowitzki to compare him to San Antonio's Tony Parker.
"We want him to be aggressive, and I think really the passes are going to be there when he's aggressive to score," Nowitzki said. "That's when the guys are going to double him off the pick-and-roll. That's when [the center's] guy slides over to protect the rim.
"Really, it starts with him being aggressive and looking to score. Then if it's not there, the pass is always an option, but we need him to get in the lane. We need him to be aggressive. He's so good at it."