Ellis was waived by the Pacers on Wednesday, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports. Ellis, who was slapped with a five-game suspension in mid-June for violation of the league's anti-drug policy, has been waived by the Pacers. The move isn't too surprising, as the subtraction of Paul George has all but drained Indiana of their playoff hopes and thrust them into a rebuilding effort. Ellis, a 31-year-old veteran, likely wouldn't have seen much playing time anyway, as the trade that sent George to Oklahoma City also brought in Victor Oladipo, a young shooting guard who could command upwards of 30 to 35 minutes a night.
Ellis has been suspended five games by the NBA for a violation of the league's anti-drug policy, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reports. The NBA announced the suspension in a press release Friday but did not provide any further details. Assuming Ellis isn't able to get the suspension reduced, he'll be required sit out the first five games of the 2017-18 season. Following the news, the Pacers issued the following statement: "Monta's suspension is a very serious matter to our franchise and it will be dealt with accordingly." At this point, it's unclear if Ellis will face any further discipline from the team.
Ellis will move to the bench for Thursday's Game 3 against Cleveland, Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports reports. Ellis has averaged just 6.5 points, 2.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds while playing 26.5 minutes per game in two playoff starts thus far. His slow start has resulted in C.J. Miles getting the starting nod in Game 3. Look for Ellis to see a slightly reduced role while coming off the bench. It's unclear if Ellis will return to the starting lineup or come off the bench in Sunday's Game 4.
Ellis compiled eight points (3-6 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 1-4 FT), five steals, one block, one rebound and one assist across 24 minutes during Thursday's 104-89 victory over the Bucks. Though he's made an impressive defensive leap since joining the starting five March 26 -- averaging 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game since then -- Ellis has been largely underwhelming on the offensive side of the ball, averaging 8.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists across 30.0 minutes per game while knocking down 42.4 percent of his shots. While the 31-year-old Ellis has demonstrated throughout his career that he's a capable scorer, he's taking a backseat to the likes of Paul George, Jeff Teague and Myles Turner this season, regardless of his spot in the rotation. While Ellis could be worth a pickup off the wire for those in quick need of defensive statistics, his offensive struggles may offset those benefits.
Ellis will start at shooting guard for Sunday's game against the 76ers. Coach Nate McMillan said he was hoping to play a little faster Sunday, which was his reasoning for inserting Ellis into the top unit. C.J. Miles will head to the bench in the corresponding move and could see a slight down tick in minutes. In 23 previous starts this season, Ellis has averaged 9.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists across 31.2 minutes.
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