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Pacers Podcast: What to do with Monta Ellis

On the latest Locked on Pacers episode we talk Monta Ellis. His physical fit doesn’t seem right on Pacers roster, but Ellis brings more to the Pacers than it appears on the surface.

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NBA: Indiana Pacers at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

As the Pacers begin a five-game road trip in Portland on Wednesday, there’s been plenty of chatter among Pacers’ fans and media about Glenn Robinson III showing up well while filling in as a starter for Paul George.

That discussion naturally turns to how the Pacers can continue to use GR3 when PG is ready to play again, which then casts a wary eye on Monta Ellis. The undersized shooting guard is usually the odd man out in these types of discussions because he is a bit of an odd fit on the Pacers’ roster.

Opposing teams with better size on the wing can take advantage, like Charlotte did. But the idea of Ellis off the bench in a backcourt rotation with Rodney Stuckey creates odd lineups, as well.

Is a trade an option? Sure, but not an easy task and one that wouldn’t be likely until later in the season.

But is Monta really the issue? Look a little deeper and you see Monta playing a different game this year. As I mention in the pod, here’s a link to Nate Taylor’s story on Monta’s effort this season and the way he is trying to impact the team WITHOUT the ball in his hands.

He’s taking less than 10 shots per game and his team is 2.8 points per 100 possessions better when he’s on the court. Even more eye-opening, the Pacers are 11.9 points worse when he’s on the bench which makes the team 14.7 points per 100 possessions better when Monta plays.

Just as important, Monta has been a vocal leader off the court, pushing young players as the team has sputtered during the early season. So while you may find a better physical fit via trade, dealing Monta may create another hole on the emotional side of the team leadership equation.

So...what are the Pacers to do about Monta? All of this chatter and these numbers remain on a relatively small sample size, so this debate is far from over so please share your thoughts on the topic.