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Knicks may want Malik Monk as Point Guard in NBA

Can the scoring machine make the transition to point guard?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Kentucky vs North Carolina Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Malik Monk was a scoring machine during his one season tenure with the Kentucky Wildcats. He averaged 19.8 points per game and shot 39.7 % from the three point line. Wherever Monk lands in the top ten of the NBA Draft, that team will get one of the better players in regards to getting buckets.

With the eighth pick in the draft, the New York Knicks are interested in Monk as a scorer, but they may want him to try to become a point guard as well, according to the New York Post.

Before the NBA Draft Combine, CBS college basketball analyst Wally Szczerbiak told The Post he sees Monk as a fit for the triangle offense because he can play the point in Phil Jackson’s system, which doesn’t have an overreliance on a single playmaker.

“He might be able to point in the triangle system,’’ said Szczerbiak, who also works for MSG Network as studio analyst. “A system for a guy who’s not a playmaker and used to playing off the ball would be perfect. Dribble the ball up the floor and enter the ball into the triangle and running the cuts and motion to get him open looks. That would bode well for him. He’s really good off ball, coming off screens. The best player in this draft coming off the ball. [But] he’s a little streaky.’’

Szczerbiak gave three comparisons. At worst, he said, Monk will be like former Knicks first-rounder Tim Hardaway Jr. At best, he will be another Ray Allen. Somewhere in the high middle, there’s Suns standout Devin Booker, formerly of Kentucky.

One of the knocks against Monk is his height at 6’3.

ESPN draft whiz Fran Fraschilla sees him as a career sixth man.

“I wish he was 6-5 and not 6-3 with an average wingspan, because for me the poster child for Malik Monk is what Jamal Crawford has done in his career,’’ Fraschilla said at the combine. “Once he settles into his NBA career, he is going to be a scorer off the bench. I know he probably wouldn’t want to hear that, but he still is a volume shooter. He had the ultimate green light in high school. He had a green light at Kentucky. It actually hurt them at times.

“But the fact he’s undersized, with a below-average wingspan for the position, he is going to have to become what I call a technician, really going to have to work on NBA footwork, creating space and separation. You get to mold them with your coaching staff. … His NBA future is a lead off-the-bench scorer.”

While I understand the reservations about his height, I respectfully disagree with Fran’s observations. As someone who watched Monk all season and never missed a minute of him playing, I can tell he’s a star.

As for him being point guard in the NBA, I’m not sure that would work because that position doesn’t cater to what he is best it. He’s a creator in the sense that he can create his own shot or his own move off of the dribble. There were some instances in specific games where he was able to take a back seat and get his teammates involved but that isn’t his strength.

Read the full article on the New York Post’s website.