Potential Wolves draft pick profile: Malik Monk
Leading up to the NBA Draft, FOX Sports North will take a look at some options for the Minnesota Timberwolves. We continue the series with Kentucky shooting guard Malik Monk.
Previously: Jonathan Isaac
FRAME: 6-foot-3, 197 pounds (6-3 1/2 wingspan)
POSITION: Shooting guard
STATISTICAL AVERAGES: 32.1 minutes, 19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks, 45.0 FG%, 39.7 3PT%, 82.2 FT%
TROPHY CASE: Consensus second-team All-American, second-team All-SEC, AP’s SEC Player of the Year, AP Newcomer of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year, Jerry West Award winner.
TALE OF THE TAPE: Monk broke out in a win over Michigan State on Nov. 15, hitting seven 3-pointers and scoring 23 points. ... The SEC’s regular-season scoring leader, Monk hit 104 3-pointers as a freshman, third-most in program history.... He had 38 20-point games on the season, highlighted by a 47-point explosion against North Carolina in Las Vegas on Dec. 17.... Monk forced overtime in a 37-point effort against Georgia on Jan. 31. ... He hit two 3-pointers with 30 seconds to play after guiding Kentucky to the Elite Eight, before a UNC buzzer-beater ended their run.
GET TO KNOW HIM: A native of Arkansas and the state’s first top-10 college prospect in a decade, Monk’s recruitment was the subject of some major angst in his home state. His older brother Marcus played football for Arkansas and was expected to lure Monk to Fayetteville, while coach Mike Anderson began courting him as a freshman. He ultimately spurned the Razorbacks in favor of John Calipari and the Wildcats, a decision that drew boos, heckling and worse during his final prep season, and prompted one local radio host to encourage Monk to leave the state.
WHY IT WORKS: One of the most prolific shooters in this year’s draft, Monk scores in bunches, and can rain 3s when he’s on. Exhibit A: That 47-point performance against UNC, a record for a Kentucky freshman and one of the best individual performances of the season. His athleticism should make up for concerns about his size.
WHY IT DOESN’T: Those treys are tempting, but Monk’s size could make him a defensive liability on a team that can’t afford any more of them. Monk can also struggle to create and capitalize on high-percentage chances near the rim. The Wolves are also pretty flush with guards after taking Kris Dunn last year.
FILM ROOM: The tape from the Michigan State game and his outburst in Las Vegas should have Wolves fans salivating over those 3s. His performance in the closing moments of Kentucky’s loss to North Carolina in the Elite Eight is jaw-dropping.