Charlotte Hornets: When will Malik Monk break into the starting lineup?

Charlotte Hornets Malik Monk (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Malik Monk (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Malik Monk is trying to break his way into the Charlotte Hornets starting lineup, after a lackluster rookie campaign. The way Monk is contributing in the early part of the season is turning heads, so when will he start?

Malik Monk played 38 games in his only year at Kentucky. He averaged 19.8 PPG, shot nearly 40% from 3PT range while shooting 45% from the field. Those stats combined with his natural ability to take the big shots and shoot from range is what attracted NBA teams to him in the 2017 draft.

Charlotte selected him with the #11 pick, and his rookie campaign did not go to plan. It left Charlotte Hornets fans wondering if he would ever live up to his potential and if his scoring ability would ever translate to the NBA.

Rookie Season Woes

Malik Monk played 63 games in his rookie season, without starting one of them. The Charlotte Hornets drafted him with the #11 pick in the 2017 draft, meaning they passed on Rookie of the Year candidate Donovan Mitchell who was selected by the Utah Jazz and would go on to average 20.5 PPG, and 3.7 Assists and 3.7 rebounds a game, and be selected first-team All-Rookie

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Malik, on the other hand, averaged 6.7 PPG and 1.4 Assists per game while playing 13.6 MPG. It was a big disappointment from a fan perspective.

Malik suffered a pre-draft ankle injury that kept him out of the summer league. An early-season injury to Michael Carter-Williams thrust Monk into significant minutes right away at the start of the season, without much time with the team over the summer.

The start of Malik’s career was something to forget. In his first three games of his career, he was thrust into 19 minutes a game, and he shot 18% from the floor and 21% from the 3PT range.

Light At The End of The Tunnel

The last month of the 2017-2018 for Malik Monk was the bright spot of his rookie season. The Charlotte Hornets missed the playoffs, and fans knew the rebuild was right around the corner.

After a long season and no playoff birth, Malik gave Charlotte something to cheer about as he averaged 20.4 PPG, shot 48% from the field and 41.3% from 3PT range while playing 24.8 minutes a game in the month of April.

The team went 2-3 during the last month of the season with wins over the Orlando Magic and the Indiana Pacers. Malik leads the team with 26 PTS on 4-6 shooting from 3PT range while going 6-6 at the free throw line in the win over the Magic.

Heading into the offseason, it was clear that Malik had the capability of leading the team in scoring and being a leader on the offensive end. After a brutal start, the ending of the season for Malik left a solid taste in our mouths, so we were excited the 2018 season.

"“I lost a lot of reps [because of my ankle injury last summer]. I missed summer league and all that. It was a lot. But now, I got this summer and I just got to work hard, even harder than I did before. I’m going to work. I’m going to start early, too. I think I’m going to start in the next two weeks because I missed so much last year. It’s going to be a good summer for me.” – Malik Monk on the offseason after his rookie year."

Sophomore Start

Coming off the bench in his sophomore season, Malik is averaging 13.3 PPG, shooting 41% from the field in 11 games while playing 23.3 MPG. All of these stats are improvements from his rookie season. He is a crucial part of the “Bench Swarmers” / “Second Sting” who is averaging 48.8 PPG, which is second in the NBA.

All of Monk’s stats have improved, he is getting minutes in the 4th quarter and will soon overtake Jeremy Lamb who is shooting a modest 42% from the field, as well as averaging 12 PPG through his first 11 starts, in the starting lineup. Coach Borrego is giving him minutes in the 4th and is trusting him to make the right play in crunch time.

Also. Marvin Williams moves to 3rd All-Time on Hornets 3-PT List. light

To me, Lamb is a suitable player to hold down that starting spot, but once Malik is ready to play starter minutes and run with the 1st team, let him in. Hopefully, once he makes that first start of his career, he will never turn back.

"“Malik has grown every single game, right before our eyes. He is getting better, I am trusting him more and more. I like him in the 4th quarter. He can shoot the ball, he is not afraid to take big shots,” said Coach Borrego about Malik’s play this season."