Hornets select high-scoring Kentucky guard Malik Monk with No. 11 pick

The Charlotte Hornets selected high-scoring University of Kentucky shooting guard Malik Monk as the No. 11 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The last time the Hornets picked a guard in the lottery portion of the draft was with Kemba Walker, the ninth overall pick in 2011. That pick turned out well for the franchise and the explosive ability of Monk creates high expectations for the Hornets’ future backcourt.

“Michael Jordan is the GOAT, and he’s with Charlotte, and I’m going to learn a lot from him and everybody,” said Monk, who mentioned he modeled parts of his game after watching Walker. “Everybody is comfortable. Kemba is comfortable because he’s with my agency. I talked to him before. Everybody is comfortable, so I’m just ready to go to work.”

Monk provides the offensive firepower the Hornets needed as one of the best shooters in the draft.

“We were absolutely thrilled when Malik Monk was there at 11,” Hornets general manager Rich Cho said following the draft. ” … “He can really score. He has a lot of athleticism (and) he’s a really explosive player.”

Not only was Monk ranked second amongst all Division I freshmen in scoring last season, but he was also one of four freshmen – including two former Kentucky Wildcats – to ever win Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, joining Chris Jackson, John Wall and Anthony Davis. Perhaps his 45 percent shooting from the field had something to do with that.

“I’m a winner. Always trying to win,” Monk said. “Do the best I can to win and knock down open shots, any shot I can get, all the clutch shots. I try to make the best, and I’m going to learn, learn from the vets and listen to the coach and try to be the best player and best listener and learner ever.”

In his lone collegiate season, Monk averaged 19.8 points with 40-percent shooting from 3-point range — and his offensive skillset was on full display in his 47-point game against the eventual national champion North Carolina Tar Heels. His new owner may have been watching that outburst.

His tenacity to find the basket under pressure is something the Hornets should thrive off of now that the team will not have to rely so heavily on Walker. Moreover, Monk’s effectiveness off the dribble and peeling off screens will make for a fun transition to the NBA — and a beneficial one for Charlotte.

The Kentucky standout nailed a total of 104 3s last season, which was second to North Carolina’s Justin Jackson (105). The size of defenders in the NBA will present a new challenge to Monk; however, the hype is real for Buzz City as Monk is an exciting player.

One downside is his 6-foot-3 frame, unquestionably small for an NBA shooting guard. But with the losses of wing Marco Belinell and big man Mason Plumlee — both sent to the Atlanta Hawks in a trade for center Dwight Howard — Monk can potentially provide the offensive spark the Hornets desperately need.

“I’m trying to be Rookie of the Year, get to the Rookie Game and All-Star Weekend,” Monk said on ESPN. “It’s a lot of goals I’m going to set.”

The Hornets needed more scoring help off of the bench last season.

Malik Monk is the talented solution to that problem.

As part of the trade for Howard, Hornets selected Frank Jackson out of Duke University as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to New Orleans for cash and the 40th overall pick. With that selection, Charlotte elected to take Florida State University’s Dwayne Bacon.

Bacon provides a physical backbone to Charlotte’s bench as a result of his 17.2 points and 4.2 rebounds that he averaged in 35 games during his collegiate career. He was also named 2nd-team All-ACC.

“They liked me as a player. They’ve seen me play a lot. They were at my pro day in full effect. At my pro day they told me I helped myself, and it’s just a blessing to be picked by those guys,” Bacon said. “I feel like I can bring a lot of scoring, a different type of scoring. I scored at all three levels, and once I learn from the greatest in Michael Jordan and Kemba and all those guys, I’m going to add a lot to my game.”