Player Forecast on Malik Monk
Position: Shooting Guard
Weight: 200 lbs.
Reasons for Optimism:
Malik Monk fell into the Charlotte Hornets’ lap on Draft night this offseason. Many experts did not believe Monk would be available when the Hornets went on the clock with the 11th overall pick….but he was. Selecting Monk was a steal and he will be a valuable addition to the Charlotte Hornets this upcoming season.
If anything was obvious during Malik Monk’s freshman year at Kentucky, it’s that he’s an elite scorer. Him and De’Aaron Fox were perhaps the best back-court duo in all of college basketball.
Malik Monk led Kentucky last season averaging 19.8 points per game on 39% shooting from three-point land. He was also fairly consistent by scoring at least 10+ points throughout the regular season. Monk had some off nights, but when he was on the top of his game, there wasn’t anything the opposing team could do to stop him.
In 15 games last season he had at least 20+ points, three times he scored 30, and his season high was 47 points against the North Carolina Tar Heels in December. We’ll talk more about that classic performance later on.
College basketball is a different sport compared to the NBA. The pace of play in the NBA is faster, and to be blunt….the players are much better. There’s no comparison. Although, it seems Malik Monk’s game will translate to the pros. He is an elite scorer and a deadly three-point shooter. The three-point shot is the most important skill in professional basketball, and that’s one of Monk’s strengths.
Last year the Charlotte Hornets struggled to get production from their bench players. To begin the season that’s what Monk will provide…..scoring off the bench. There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to Malik Monk, the Hornets got a steal with the 11th overall selection.
Reasons for Pessimism:
Malik Monk is an elite scorer, the same cannot be said about his ability on the defensive end. In his defense, that’s a common weakness when it comes to NBA rookies.
The Hornets bench did a decent job scoring last season ranking 13th in the league but their problem was not playing lockdown defense, which led to trading baskets. Monk will give the bench a scoring boost but Steve Clifford needs someone who can be an asset on both ends of the floor.
Monk lacks the body frame to guard some of the taller two-guards in today’s NBA. We even saw some of this at Kentucky as some players were able to score over him with ease. You can see examples of this in the video below:
Number to Know:
Malik Monk’s signature game of his one-year Kentucky career was when he scored 47 points in a December game versus North Carolina. Not only did he drop 47 points on the eventual NCAA champions, but he scored very efficiently. Monk was 8 for 12 on three-pointers and 18 for 28 (64%) from the field.
Malik Monk has the potential to become a star in the NBA, but let’s pump the brakes just a little bit. He has a lot of developing to do and it’ll take time for him to adjust to the NBA. He needs to continue to get stronger and improve on the defensive end.
With that being said, what can we expect from Malik Monk in his rookie year? Barring any sort of injuries, he will primarily be a scorer off the bench while Kemba Walker or Nicolas Batum is on the bench. He will also fit well beside Kemba/Batum to help provide floor spacing. Malik Monk will never be the focal point of the offense this season, but one thing he will provide is deadly three point shooting.
My NBA comparison for Malik Monk is Lou Williams. Both are great shooters/scorers but neither one is a lockdown defender. Williams has primarily been a bench player throughout his career, which very likely will be the case for Monk too.
What if Malik Monk achieves his ultimate potential and becomes an NBA star? My comparison then would be CJ McCollum. I don’t see Monk ever becoming as good as McCollum, but they have similar qualities. Both are undersized, and exceptional shooters. If Monk can mirror McCollum’s game, the Charlotte Hornets will be pretty happy with their selection of Monk with the 11th overall pick.