Hornets NBA

2020-21 Player Preview: Malik Monk

Malik Monk, 6’3, 200 pounds, G

Malik Monk showed some signs of life last year and improved his scoring from below the arc. He shot a career high on 2s last year (54.2%) which was up from 46.1% the year before. Monk was really good this past year at finishing at the rim and shooting from midrange. From zero to three feet, Monk shot a career high 67.1%. He also was getting there more last year with 28.7% of his shots coming in that range. He was truly incredible at the rim despite his size:

Monk was said to have added strength last year and while he doesn’t look particularly bigger to the eye, he was able to use this added strength to finish against bigs like the play above.

Here Monk showcases his burst and body control, blowing by the defender and shifting in the air to make the sweet finish.

Monk uses the stop and start dribble to get to the rim and finish.

Monk always had the athleticism to make plays like this. He’s a good cutter and has some utility as a vertical spacer with plays like these.

Monk’s blend of burst, jumping ability, and body control allows him to be a really good finisher at the rim for his size. In addition, he was able to shoot over 40% from shots in the midrange and showed his scoring prowess. Monk projected as a three level scorer in the league and he seems to have the first two levels down. However, the three point shot has failed him so far in the league.

As I talked about in last year’s player preview, the three point shot is the big factor for him. Monk was an excellent shooter at Kentucky so it seemed like a sure bet that it would translate. It still hasn’t. It got even worse last year as he shot a career low 28.4% from three. The three point shooting is the money maker for Monk. Defenses still treat him like a shooter which is good but at some point, he has to start cashing in. It’s year four. If Monk can get to being an above average three point shooter, he can be a true three level scorer and wreak havoc on bench units.

With added three point shooting, Monk’s improved playmaking will shine more and he can become the complete offensive player that we expected him to be. Monk’s feel on defense is pretty good but he’s too small to be a positive on that end aside from a steal or block every now and then. He has to be a big positive on the offensive end to be good in this league and he is almost there. The outline of a good offensive player is there. With good three point shooting, Monk will be able to be a good spot up threat and also leverage his athleticism by attacking closeouts. Because the Hornets have a lot of good playmakers, Monk should have many opportunities to attack closeouts and generate highlights. The three point shot just has to come around. Monk has good ball skills as well and better three point shooting shooting should open up his pick and roll game. Monk still has the potential to be a devastating on and off ball scorer.

Monk is in a contract year so I am sure he will get a lot of run in the second unit so that the Hornets can see what they have in him. Personally, I think we should probably check the trade market to see what we can get for him, especially if he excels early. Depending on the development of LaMelo Ball and his fit with Devonte’ Graham, we could see Te’ transition to more of a sixth man role that he would really excel at (his ideal role in his prime in my opinion). That leaves Monk kind of out of it. With so many guards on the roster, I expect to see a lot of trade rumors around Monk this year. Who knows if he actually gets traded but here’s to hoping that he can continue to improve as a shooter.

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