2016-17 Season Stats:
44.9% from the field
39.3% from three
82.4% from the free-throw line
Weight: 197 pounds Height w/shoes: 6′3″. Wingspan: 6’3.5″. Max Vert: 42″
Malik Monk is a scoring machine. His best attribute is his ability to shoot from just about anywhere on the court. Despite playing on a Kentucky team where he hasn’t been the primary ball handler, his ability to put the ball in the basket has been something to marvel at. His leaping ability and strength make him a terror in transition. His shooting ability makes him a threat on and off the ball. This season he made plenty of shots while coming off screens, spotting up on the wing and in isolation. Furthermore, he uses his explosiveness very well to get his shots off over defenders. He is projected to be a combo guard at the NBA level and there isn’t a better time in league history to be one of those.
With that being said, he has some areas that need to be developed for him to become the All-Star that many project him to be. For one, despite his athleticism, there are questions about whether he can defend at an NBA level because of his relatively short wingspan. At only 6-foot-3, he may be a bit too small to play shooting guard but he has neither the handles or the consistent play-making ability to be a top point guard at the NBA level. He sometimes relies too much on his feathery jump shot instead of fully penetrating the defense when given the opportunity. As you might imagine, this habit of settling for a pull-up jumper may lead to some questions about his shot selection. On the college level, he’s good enough to get away with it. But against NBA-caliber defenders, it may be what keeps him from reaching his potential.
He’d fit on a team that needed perimeter scoring but was willing to take their lumps while developing him as a ball handler. Think of it as a second chance to get the most out of a J.R. Smith level talent. He has All-Star potential for sure but he needs the right situation or he’ll be known for his shot taking more than his shot making. He certainly needs to improve as a dribbler and penetrator so that he can better utilize his explosiveness in half court situations. Ideally, he can develop enough as a defender to guard point guards and bother them with his quickness and strength. However, defending shooting guards may be an issue because of his lack of length.
When it comes to Monk, the good outweighs the bad. While he probably won’t end up as a superstar, he could be an elite secondary scorer on a contending team when it’s all said and done. No matter where he plays next season, he’ll be a walking highlight reel that will be electrifying arenas all over the country and frustrating coaches on both benches.