NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Malik Monk

by Jonah Ballow
NYKnicks.com
@jonahballow

The Path
As the younger brother of former All-SEC wide receiver Marcus Monk, Malik established his own fame in the SEC with a standout season at the University of Kentucky.  The Arkansas native earned Mr. Basketball honors in his home state and captured the Jordan Brand Classic Co-MVP before committing to the Wildcats.  In one season at Kentucky, Monk averaged 19.8 points per game as part of an SEC Player of the Year campaign.

Strengths
From an athletic perspective, Monk is off the charts with extreme bounce and explosiveness in the open floor.  Monk’s shooting skills have placed him in elite company among the 2017 draft class.  The two-guard connected on nearly 40 percent of his attempts from downtown and 45 percent from the floor.  Monk also reached the charity stripe 4.7 times per game while hitting 82.2 percent.  The 19-year-old can create his own scoring opportunities at the off-guard position while displaying some upside as a passer.  Defensively, Monk is solid due to athleticism showcased on the perimeter and he has exhibited success defending opposing point guards.

Next Level
At 6’3”, Monk doesn’t match the prototypical size for the shooting guard spot in the NBA.  However, some pundits believe he can make the transition to the lead ball handler and move to the 2 in a small-ball NBA lineup.  His athleticism can make up for the size deficiency on the wing.  Explosive scoring skills, strong pick-and-roll abilities, and shooting efficiency has led to Monk’s pre-draft position in the top ten.   While examining the mock drafts, Monk could be available at No. 8 for the Knicks on draft night.  A perimeter scorer like Monk is intriguing for New York and he’s certainly a viable option on June 22.

Statistically Speaking
Monk ranked No. 1 in 3-point field goals made, attempted, and percentage in the SEC this past season.

What They’re Saying
“A freakishly explosive leaper capable of finishing emphatically above the rim, registering 42-inch vertical leap at Kentucky’s preseason combine, the Bentonville, Arkansas native also possesses the strong first step and quickness to potentially grow into a dynamic shot creator off the dribble, even if that wasn’t his identity at the college level.” – Draft Express

“Monk is the best scorer in the draft and will spend his workouts trying to convince teams that can be a point guard as well.” – Chard Ford, ESPN.com