Buzz Words | Hornets 2018 Summer Notebook

With Monk Out, Who Steps Up for Hornets at MGM Resorts Summer League?

Matt Rochinski and Sam Perley of hornets.com will be following the Hornets throughout the 2018 NBA offseason and keeping fans up to date through the Buzz Words | Hornets Notebook. Keep checking back to see what the latest is as the season unfolds.

By Sam Perley, hornets.com | Saturday, July 7, 5:29 p.m. (PST)

Bad news unfolded at Hornets Summer League practice on Saturday afternoon as shooting guard Malik Monk was officially ruled out for the next 6-8 weeks after suffering a fractured right thumb in Friday’s win over Oklahoma City.

“It’s tough. He played so well yesterday,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego. “He’s working so hard, but we’re not going to let this deter us. He’s going to continue to work. It’s a little setback right now, but he’ll be in the gym. We’ll work on his left hand, continue to develop him. When he gets back, we’ll get right back to where we were.”

Monk finished with a game-high-tying 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting and two assists in the team’s 88-87 win over Thunder. Although the situation is obviously not ideal for Monk (he also missed last year’s Summer League with a sprained ankle), the good news is that this injury occurred in the offseason and wasn’t to a lower extremity. Still, it’s a challenging turn of events for a player looking to turn a corner in Vegas.

“I think you saw how hard he’s working this summer,” said Borrego. “He’s really put in the work. He had a really good first game here. Came out strong, aggressive, shot the ball very well. He’s a confident player right now. I’m excited for his growth. He’s had a little setback.”

In Monk’s absence, NBA returnees Dwayne Bacon and Willy Hernangomez will be relied on even more, especially from a leadership standpoint, while two-way rookie signee, J.P. Macura, will likely slide into the starting two-guard spot for the Hornets.

“The ball will be in Dwayne’s hands a little bit more now with Malik out,” added Borrego. “We’ll have him facilitate some. I think you’ll see the ball in Willy’s hands a little bit more, maybe through the elbow, as well as Miles [Bridges]. It’s a good opportunity for those guys to step up, take a leadership role, hold this group accountable.”

Monk served as one of the primary facilitators in the team’s Summer League opener and it’s encouraging that Borrego and the coaching staff feel confident enough to put the ball in the hands of a multitude of different players on the roster.

The squad will certainly have a different look for its game on Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. ET against the Miami Heat, but a handful of opportunities are now available for the rest of the Charlotte Hornets’ players looking to make a statement in Summer League play.