Wt: 197 pounds
2016-17 Stats: 19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists
HOW HE OPERATES
Malik Monk, the best pure scorer in the draft, gets buckets in a variety of different ways and it all starts with his jump shot, one of the best of any prospect in the draft. The SEC Freshman of the Year has range well beyond the 3-point line and a lightning-fast release that allows him to get shots off under duress. In fact, in catch-and-shoot situations, Monk shot a better percentage guarded (43.2) than unguarded (36.1), according to Synergy stats. Overall, Monk hit nearly 40 percent from the 3-point line and in jump shots of all kinds, hit 41 percent of them. If there was a jumper to be made, Monk was likely putting it in.
In his one season with the Wildcats, Monk’s top used actions were spot-up and transition. Kentucky was an up-tempo team, and he flourished within that parameter. He made 46.2 percent of his spot-up shots. And as with any good scorer, Monk wasn’t one dimensional. He could get to the rim as well. He wasn’t a great finisher through contact, but was able to draw fouls and took nearly five free throws per game. He cashed most of those in, making 82 percent from the charity stripe. Monk has good, not great, athleticism. In transition if he got to the rim, he was finishing with a dunk. He has a quick first step, which is aided by the threat of his jump shot-making ability. Defenders had to play him close, and more than a few were caught on their toes in anticipation of getting a hand up to contest a shot only to see him drive by them to the rim.
He doesn’t have great size for a two-guard, so he may have to prove he can handle things from the point guard spot as well. However, as Nuggets shooting guard Gary Harris can attest to, just because you’re not a 6-6 shooting guard doesn’t mean you can’t flourish in that spot. Still, a little playmaking ability would help Monk’s value skyrocket even higher. With De’Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe handling playmaking at Kentucky, Monk wasn’t asked to do that. He wasn’t a great rebounder, either. So, both assists and rebounding are areas of improvement for him.
Defensively, Monk has decent lateral quickness and was good guarding in space. He got a good hand up in contesting jump shots and in fact forced a lot of missed attempts. Opponents made just 24 percent of their jumpers against him. Kentucky switched a ton of screens defensively, so the jury remains out on how well and consistent Monk will be in fighting through them on a nightly basis. He’ll continue to improve his handle, as a good number of his turnovers were of the lost ball variety.
HIS BEST FIT
In part, due to the fast-paced system he played in at Kentucky, and an NBA that is playing faster and spreading defenses out thinner every year, Monk is a good fit in a number of different places. If he landed on a team that has a player who commands a double team or draws defenders so he can be the recipient of kick out passes leading to clean looks, that would be even more ideal.