Ellis is trying to reach that level. When the Mavs needed him most this season, he turned in his worst performance of the series. When Ellis couldn't hit his jumper in Game 7, the Spurs stayed under the screen on the pick-and-roll and denied him access to the lane. Without a jumper or access to the lane, Ellis became passive.
In Game 6, he relentlessly attacked the basket. In Game 7, the dude who led the NBA in drives scored one basket in the lane.
Ellis finished with just 12 points -- his second-lowest total of the series -- and made just three of 11 shots. After the game, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich had a lengthy conversation with Ellis, though he declined to give specifics of their conversation. "At 28 years old, he has a lot of great years left," Carlisle said of Ellis. "He's really just entering his prime, and there are some things we can do to help him get even better." A few days from now, the focus will shift from this embarrassing Game 7 loss to giving Carlisle credit for squeezing all of the potential from this roster.
The Mavs, as they should, are all about competing for championships as long as Dirk is on the roster.
Sure, they won 49 games, but the Mavs still finished eighth in the Western Conference and they're not close to being a championship contender as currently constructed.
The odds of the Mavs adding a star in the offseason are slim, so it's up to Ellis to spend the offseason significantly improving his jumper.
The Mavs don't Ellis to be a sidekick; they need him to be a star. It's the best way for the Mavs to become a contender.