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Malik Monk easing into the NBA

Malik Monk already looks primed for big things in his NBA career.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Malik Monk made quite the splash in his one season at Kentucky. He was the AP Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, a USA Today All-American, and the Jerry West Award.

Monk helped get Kentucky to the Elite Eight before losing to eventual champion North Carolina. During the season, Monk showed himself to be a scorer that could absolutely catch fire.

Despite these outbursts of absolute domination on the court, Monk slipped to number 11 in the 2017 NBA Draft to the Charlotte Hornets.

He joined the Hornets, who had struggled the year previously to score the ball. Monk was a perfect pick for them and so far in his career, he has been very streaky in navigating the NBA game. Monk has gotten consistent minutes in his first 11 games. He is averaging 21.8 minutes per game, but has had some breakout moments thus far.

In his fourth career game against the Denver Nuggets, Monk put up 21 points on 7 of 14 shooting. He showed a lot of offensive talent in that game. He was able to drive by his defender for a dunk. He was able to come off a screen with a live dribble for a mid range jumper and then a pull up three pointer.

Monk’s best game as a pro up to date would have to be his game against the Milwaukee Bucks on November 1st. He scored 25 points in only 22 minutes of action. He shot 10 of 17 from the field and got hot.

Going into the fourth quarter of that game, Monk had scored 7 points and the game was tied at 88-88. The first four and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, Malik Monk shot 7 times, making 6 of them. He scored 16 points and put the Hornets ahead for good in a game they would go on to win 126-121. At one point, Monk made three shots from deep in a row as the home crowd went nuts.

Monk has a way to go to becoming a great NBA player, but he has a knack for scoring the ball. The ability to go off for 16 points in four and a half minutes is not something many NBA players can do, let alone rookies that are only 19 years old.

Monk’s ability to become a play maker with the ball is going to be huge for his development. As of now, he is averaging 3.7 pick and rolls per game as the ball handler and he is struggling to make the right decision.

According to nba.com, Monk is turning the ball over almost 20% of the time. Monk being able to run successful pick and rolls will be huge for his offensive game. He is such a dangerous shooter that defenses have to guard him at all times.

He is having success as a spot up shooter. Per nba.com/stats, spot up situations make up 26% of his offensive possessions and he is scoring 1.11 points per possession, good enough for the 70th percentile in the league. The Hornets have many different ways that they can use Monk. He is more than just a shooter and my hope is that they give him more opportunities to develop his handle and play making.

After 11 games, Monk has taken more three point shots than two pointers, which is the NBA world these days. According to Basketball Reference, he is shooting less than 10 percent of his shots at the rim. To be a great scorer at the NBA level, you have to get to the line and Monk will figure that out.

As I look at Monk in college and in his first 11 games as a pro, I can see many different career trajectories. I can see him becoming an All-Star that scores big points night in and night out. I could also see him as the next big bench scorer like Lou Williams or Jamal Crawford.

One thing is for sure, Monk is going to be around in the league for a long time.

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