Charlotte Hornets: 5 reasons why Malik Monk was a great pick
Here’s why the Charlotte Hornets’ selection of Malik Monk out of Kentucky in the 2017 NBA Draft was an excellent one.
The Charlotte Hornets suffered a down year in 2016-17, which meant that they once again found themselves picking in the lottery — something that has not been kind to the franchise in the past.
For the past couple of drafts, the Hornets have completely failed, as they took Michael Kidd-Gilchrist over Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard in 2012, and also selected Frank Kaminsky over Myles Turner in 2015. This meant that plenty of Hornets fans went into the draft with doubts that Rich Cho would select the right player.
Luckily for the loyal Hornets fans, things played out a lot better than expected, as Malik Monk, who was arguably the best shooter in the class, fell right into their lap at the 11th selection. Monk gets underrated purely because he did not show a lot of combo guard tendencies in College, but too many people forget that coaches can unlock that side of the game when the player reaches the NBA.
My pro comparison for Monk is C.J. McCollum, as both are probably going to be below-average defenders, but can score 20 points very quickly and can develop the playmaking side of their game.
For the Hornets the pick was a home run pick, as they are a team that was desperate for a long-term playmaker to go next to Kemba Walker and the underrated Nicolas Batum. Monk is someone who can contribute from day one.
Here are five reasons why Monk was an excellent pick by the Charlotte Hornets, and why he can help get this franchise back on the right track.
5. He’s a perfect fit in Steve Clifford’s Offense
Whenever people mention the best coaches in the NBA, very few mention Steve Clifford, and this is completely wrong. Clifford is a two-way coach who has designed a great offense, and Monk can come in and be a dominant player from day one. Charlotte’s offense uses the least isolation plays, purely because something is always happening off the ball, and Clifford preaches a team-first brand of basketball.
Essentially, Monk can come in from day one and contribute, because Clifford’s offense is already ready-made, and he is very creative with how he gets his shooters open. Monk will need time to develop, but Clifford won’t need to re-design his offense, because Monk isn’t someone who necessarily needs to have the ball in his hands.
Charlotte’s record was nowhere near a fair reflection of how it played, as it ranked well in offensive and defensive efficiency, but did not have enough dynamism from its outside shooters. Monk changes this from day one.
4. He improves the bench
One of the major reasons the Hornets fell away towards the end of the season, was because their bench was simply not up to scratch. Their bench ranked 22nd in three-point percentage, and they ranked 19th in net rating, which simply wasn’t good enough to hold onto a playoff spot.
Monk is unlikely to be a day one starter as the Hornets will probably make him work toward that role, but he has a legitimate chance at winning Sixth man of the Year as such a high-powered player who will get a variety of looks in the Hornets’ offense.
The starting lineup of Kemba Walker, Nic Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller had a net rating of +6.0, which was one of the highest among NBA starting lineups, so it is clear that the bench is what stopped the Hornets from being a playoff team.
With Zeller dropping to the bench behind Dwight Howard and Malik Monk arriving, the Hornets bench could go from being mediocre, to being among the best in the NBA.
3. He is a long-term fit next to Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker is one of the most underrated players in the NBA, and he doesn’t get enough credit from casual viewers. He can score in a variety of ways, and he is absolutely a franchise player. The Hornets’ problem to date, is that they have not been able to find the long-term young player to go next to him, as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Frank Kaminsky have yet to truly pan out.
Monk at minimum is going to be a very good scorer, and this makes him a great fit next to Kemba Walker, who has been terrorizing NBA backcourts for the last two years after being freed from the infamous “Al-Fense” of the 2014-15 season.
Malik Monk was one of the most explosive jump shooters in the country last season. Great spot up shooter, but also dangerous on the move. pic.twitter.com/LjIKCvSLxW
— Synergy Sports Tech (@SynergySST) June 23, 2017
Even if Monk is going to be a below-average defender, the Hornets will still have one of the most diverse backcourts in basketball, as Monk has shown that he can score in a variety of ways, and he could finally be the long-term fit next to the excellent Kemba Walker.
2. He helps them with cap trouble
The Hornets are a team who are pretty hard-pressed against the cap, and Monk being on a rookie contract helps them out for a while as he is a player who will not be earning as much as shooters that decide to hit the open market.
The Hornets do not have any big contracts coming off the books until 2019, and unless they manage to make some more lopsided trades, then they will be hard-pressed against the cap, which means they can really only make minor moves.
In a way, any rookie pick helps a team with cap troubles, but the Hornets are in a rare situation in that they are a lottery team that has some of the toughest cap troubles in the league to navigate its way through. Having a deadly role player on a nice rookie contract can make Rich Cho’s life slightly easier.
1. He has a great attitude
The Hornets are a team that has built a really strong locker room over the past couple of seasons, and Monk is not someone who is going to come in and upset the apple cart.
— Big Blue Express (@bigbluexpress) March 27, 2017
Generally speaking, people who come through the Kentucky program are good teammates as John Calipari makes all of them sacrifice, and Monk certainly fits this bill.
The Charlotte Hornets are not that far away from getting home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference, so having someone who is ready to come in and win now, while also being a good teammate, is very important and positive.