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Monta Ellis Is Milwaukee Bucks' Last Best Hope to Be Relevant Again

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26:  Monta Ellis #11 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 26, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
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Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IIAugust 9, 2012

If the Milwaukee Bucks are going to be relevant this season, they need Monta Ellis to be the man.

Ellis came over to the Bucks last season in exchange for former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Bogut and little used Stephen Jackson. In 21 games for Milwaukee he averaged 17.6 points, 5.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals a game.

Those are pretty solid numbers. While his assists, rebounds and steals were all around his career averages, his scoring was below average. For his career he averages 19.5 points per game, and averaged 24.1 during the 2010-2011 season.

Ellis has a talent for getting hot and putting the ball in the basket. It is a talent the Bucks have been lacking from their shooting guard since Michael Redd was healthy. 

Looking up and down the Bucks roster it is hard to see where the offense will come from outside of Brandon Jennings and Ellis. Coach Scott Skiles is going to rely heavily on Ellis to carry the scoring load, much like he did with Ben Gordon during his days in Chicago.

The Bucks are going to need to see more game like he had against Atlanta and New York, while seeing less of the games he had against Memphis and Oklahoma City.

Against Atlanta on March 27 he scored 33 points on 15-24 shooting while adding eight assists and four rebounds. On April 11 he scored 35 points against the Knicks on 14-25 shooting and added 10 assists to go along with six rebounds.

When he is hot, he is hot. However, when he is cold, he is really cold.

Ellis went 2-12 against Memphis and 3-12 against Oklahoma City, scoring eight and nine points, respectively. Not what you are looking for out of your best player.

For the Bucks to be relevant, and by that I mean being a playoff team, Ellis has to eliminate the bad and become a more consistent player. If he can do it, him and Jennings can form a very dangerous backcourt.

If he can't then there is a good chance his stay in Milwaukee could be a short one, and if that happens the next best hope will have to come from a lottery pick.

Let's hope it works out because they haven't had much success from the draft in recent years. Has anyone seen Joe Alexander recently?

Ellis needs to become the guy we saw in Golden State a few seasons ago, the guy who averaged 24-25 points a game. If he can return to form, then it should be a very fun season in Milwaukee. If it happens, maybe they can finally stop allowing the Chicago fans to invade the stadium when the Bulls come to town. Maybe they can even start their own invasion of the Windy City.

Now that would be something to see.

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