2017-18 Statistics: 6.7 points, 1.4 assists, 1.0 rebound per game. Field goal percentage: 36 percent. 3-point percentage: 34.2 percent.
“I’m trying to be Rookie of the Year.”
Malik Monk set the bar high when he was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the 11th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. His slide was unexpected, as Monk was expected to be the pick at eighth overall by the New York Knicks. If he made it past the Knicks, he was expected to be taken by the Sacramento Kings. But when the Kings decided to trade the 10th pick to the Portland Trailblazers who already had CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard in the backcourt, then-General Manager Rich Cho knew he’d have the opportunity to select Monk.
Unfortunately, Monk didn’t have the best rookie season. Monk missed the majority of the off-season with an ankle sprain sustained in a workout with one of the teams he visited before the draft. This, along with his second-class defense and small size inevitably caused him to have a down rookie year.
At one point this year, Monk did appear in a G-League game. In that lone game for Greensboro, he had a very interesting box score. Monk scored 25 points on 9-for-27 shooting while making 7-for-21 from three. It’s pretty clear they sent Malik Monk to the G-League to shoot the air out of the ball.
According to Synergy Sports, Monk excelled in spot-up jumpers, hitting an adjusted 57 percent of shots in that area. He was proficient in transition, hitting an adjusted 63 percent of shots and scoring an estimated 1.11 points per possession in this area. He also excelled in isolation, performing in the 87th percentile of all eligible NBA players.
Defense is another story, however. On 108 possessions covering the PNR ball-handler, Monk allowed an adjusted 59 percent from the field. For this category, Monk ranks in the bottom nine percent.
Most of Monk’s struggles came mid-season when he was struggling to find time in the rotation. However, towards the end of the season, he showed Hornets fans that there was hope. In the final six games of the season, Monk averaged 20 points, four assists, one rebound, and one steal per game, while shooting a solid 47 percent from the field, and 40 percent from 3.
Monk was flashy at times. When he was hot, he was a very, very good basketball player. Monk’s best performance came against the Milwaukee Bucks, where he took over the fourth quarter. For the game, he had 25 points, 18 of which came in the fourth period.
While Monk’s season may have been a disappointment, he certainly should be a building block for Charlotte moving forward. His explosiveness and athleticism are incredible, and to think that some fans already think he will be nothing more than a rotational player is irrational.
Plus, he’s back training in Charlotte and taking note of his doubters:
I see them hating and now i get taller!— Malik Monk (@AhmadMonk) May 9, 2018
Don’t be surprised if he enters next season a few inches taller.