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An early look into where Malik Monk fits in the Hornets rotation

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What could the Hornets lineup look like for the 2017-2018 season? We investigate.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Kentucky vs Wichita State Thomas Joseph-USA TODAY Sports

With Summer League over we’re gonna be a deprived of basketball for the next couple of months.

I have been coping with this by playing a lot of MyGM mode on 2k17 with EmbraceThePace’s offseason rosters lately. I use the Hornets, and I have discovered that my preferred starting lineup, which features rookie Malik Monk, is working wonders for my team. The offensive fire power he adds to the team is amazing.

This got me thinking about what we’ll see with the new and improved roster this fall. Dwight Howard is probably a lock, but should Monk start? Should he not?

He probably won’t.

That’s just who the Hornets are. There are many different factors that will play in here and I’m going to try to lay them all out on the table with this article.

If you’re a Hornets fan you know how head coach Steve Clifford treats his rookies. You have to earn your minutes! And I agree with him for the most part. Monk didn’t participate in summer league, so I would think that will set him back even further since we won’t see what he can do against NBA competition him until preseason.

Chances are if he were to start it would come later in the season.

Clifford loves his vets, and it’s likely that the Hornets’ day-one starters on the wings will be Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

I’m not mad about that and I’ve come to terms with it.

They’re both very solid players, but what both of them lack in my mind is consistency, particularly on offense. Clifford loves their defense, though, and that’s exactly what Batum and MKG will bring to the table regardless of how they perform on offense.

We know Monk has the potential to be an offensive juggernaut, but he’ll have to prove he can contribute on the defensive side of the ball as well if he wants to crack the starting lineup.

I believe you have to earn your spot. Nothing should be a given. Do your time on the bench and prove to the organization that you deserve to start. Remember, Kemba Walker didn’t begin his rookie season as a starter and look at him now. Patience is truly a virtue.

But to heck with all of that. Why SHOULD he start?

This is what we as Hornets fans have been waiting on for a long time now—an actual shooting guard that can actually shoot. The days of Gerald Henderson are behind us! This is a new era!

I kind of want to throw the kid out there just so we can somebody other than Kemba drop BUCKETS. We deserve this.

No, they deserve this.

As a Carolina fan, this man left me shook not once...

Malik Monk driving against UNC
Monk nails game winner against UNC

...but TWICE! (Thank goodness it worked out in our favor the second time.)

Malik Monk ties the game with clutch shot against UNC - elite 8

And hey, what better way to develop than to actually play?

I know I said I was a fan of earning your role, but I also believe you have to actually play to develop. You can only learn so much by playing against your teammates in practice everyday. You’re going to need on-court experience against NBA starters if you want to develop into a quality player.

Both Frank Kaminsky and Cody Zeller started their careers as backups and were inconsistent.

Zeller has since turned into a regular starter—we’ll have to see what happens with the addition of Dwight Howard—and his production has been on a steady incline as he’s turned into a pivotal piece of the team.

Kaminsky is still a backup and has been wildly inconsistent in that role. When he was able to get starter’s minutes due to various injuries he began to thrive. It might be time to throw him into the starting lineup.

I believe Monk would surely benefit from getting a quality amount of minutes right out of the gate to fast track his growth, too.

I’ll let you all know right now that I’m not too fond of MKG as a starter. There is no doubt that his defensive presence is among the best in the league. I think that with the addition of Dwight Howard, though, MKG’s role might be worth reevaluating.

Neither Howard nor MKG can make a shot outside of five feet and that will create some spacing issues especially when guys like Batum and Marvin aren’t playing well offensively.

Having both on the court at the same time would cause some problems for opposing offenses but it would also cause a problem for our own offense, which is something we do not want.

This, of course, is assuming Dwight plays over Zeller. Our best route is to surround Dwight with shooters, much like in his Orlando days. Having a lineup consisting of Kemba, Monk, Batum, and either Marvin Williams or Frank Kaminsky with Howard could be deadly.

That’s BUCKETS right there. That’s what this new era of basketball is all about.

At the end of the day, this is what I, personally, would like to see: Walker, Monk, Batum, Kaminsky, and Dwight starting with Michael Carter-Williams, Dwayne Bacon, MKG, Marvin, and Cody backing them up.

Both units have a solid balance of offensive and defensive production.

Would it be as good as it is in NBA2K?

Probably not. But we can definitely work with this.