“Monta gets no respect on his drives ever,” Cuban said. “He gets hit on his body all the time and it’s like nothing. I told him he’s got to flail like all these other guys. I mean, I don’t know how he doesn’t get to the line. It’s crazy.”
Cuban complained about the issue last season. He plans to take another step soon with his lobbying to get Ellis to the line more often.
The Mavs’ video crew, under instruction from Cuban, is putting together a lengthy tape of Ellis drives that the team believes should have resulted in a foul call. Cuban intends to send the tape to the league office with the goal of illustrating that the contact Ellis consistently draws on his drives is more than incidental.
“One off is easy to dismiss,” Cuban said. “When you have a history, it’s more impactful.”
According to the NBA’s player-tracking data, Ellis ranks second in the league in drives with 227 this season. He’s tied for 24th in free throws attempted with 98.
By extreme contrast, Houston’s James Harden has attempted a league-leading 192 free throws -- nearly twice as many as Ellis -- and driven to the basket 55 fewer times.
Harden’s ratio of 1.116 free throws per drive is by far the highest among the NBA’s top 20 dribble attackers. Ellis’ free throw/drive ratio (.432) ranks 13th in that group and has actually declined significantly since last season (.514).
The list of the league’s most aggressive dribble penetrators who get fewer whistles than Ellis: New Orleans’ Tyreke Evans, San Antonio’s Tony Parker, Oklahoma City’s Reggie Jackson, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando’s Elfrid Payton and New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday.
“I don’t think those guys take on as much contact as he does,” Cuban said. “He looks for contact. I mean, this guy is one of the league leaders in charges taken, and his charges are real. He doesn’t flop.”
Ellis doesn’t flail, either, despite his boss’ advice. So Cuban is looking for other ways to help the Mavs’ leading scorer get to the line more often.