Malik Monk played with the Greensboro Swarm on Tuesday afternoon. He played 40 minutes; finishing with 25 points, shooting 9-for-27 from the field, and 7-for-21 from the 3-point line. Additionally, he finished with eight rebounds, four assists, and three turnovers.
A few things stood out. For one, 27 shot attempts is a lot. I joked during the game that he should attempt every shot, but he literally took 28 percent of the Swarm’s shots, and 46 percent of their 3-point attempts. It’s an excessive amount, but in the grand scheme of things, was probably the game plan heading in.
Monk needed to see the ball go in the hoop a few times, and it did so, particularly during the third quarter. He went 4-for-8 in the third, making two consecutive 3’s on as many possessions. It helped the Swarm jump out to a large lead, and put them in the driver’s seat for the rest of the game.
If the above mentioned stretch didn’t make it clear enough, Monk played much better in the second half. He looked more confident attempting shots, and took better shots as well. One thing I noticed, particularly in the first half, was his tendency to fade away when attempting a 3-pointer. He’s done it with the Charlotte Hornets as well, but it was more visible in a game where he was the go-to scorer. He faded away a lot more in the first half, particularly when shooting off the dribble. In the second half, more of his shots came off catch-and-shoot opportunities.
Aside from the excessive amount of perimeter shooting, Monk did score one brilliantly played alley-oop. A back screen was set on Monk’s defender, which freed him to cut straight to the basket and catch the lob. He tried dunking it, but came just short and instead laid it in.
Monk ran a bit of point guard, but often deferred to Julyan Stone and Marcus Paige. When he did run it, he ran a lot of pick-and-roll sets, and relied on his go-to one handed bounce pass to find the roll man. He committed three turnovers, but all were in the first half, and he looked a little more comfortable running sets in the second.
Defensively, it was hard to gauge. There is a lot of iso ball in the G-League, and Monk was guarding Xavier Munford, one of the better players in the league. Munford finished with a game high 26 points on 10-for-21 shooting. For what it’s worth, there weren’t any obvious gaffs.
Large proclamations about Monk’s game really can’t be made off of one G-League performance. He showed more of what we know he is capable of, and got plenty of playing time to work off rust and improve his fitness. At the risk of being run out of here with pitchforks, I’d argue he should spend more time with the Swarm, particularly in cases like today where he can play with the Swarm and then re-join the Hornets the following day. Of course, that’s assuming he actually does that this go around (but I’m going to assume that’s the plan). The G-League are here, first and foremost, to develop young talent for the Hornets. Paige and Mangok Mathiang are benefiting now as two-way players, and Monk could as well, at least while he remains down on the depth chart. I understand the calls to play him in the rotation, and I think we’ll see that soon enough once the upcoming West Coast road trip about ends the Hornets chances to turning the season around. But sending Monk down today was a good idea, and I think it’s an option worth exploring for the time being.