Charlotte Hornets: Malik Monk is the team’s X-Factor

Malik Monk Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Malik Monk Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As the Charlotte Hornets look to rebuild their roster, it is vitally important to look at who has what it takes to be built around; does that include Malik Monk?

Two summers ago, Commissioner Adam Silver revealed this proclamation: “With the eleventh pick in the 2017 NBA draft the Charlotte Hornets select… Malik Monk“. Malik then proceeds to walk to the giant stage that was surveilled by an insurmountable number of NBA fans as he shakes hands with Silver and puts on a Charlotte Hornets hat.

At the time, this pick was seen as an unequivocal steal. Monk had been projected to be drafted prior to Charlotte’s eleventh overall selection in the vast majority of mock drafts.

Monk showcased just how offensively talented he can be at just 18 years old with a Kentucky freshman record-breaking 47-point performance against UNC.

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With Malik still being on the board by the time that the Hornets were on the clock, it seemed to be a no brainer. If Monk could sustain the type of offensive flamethrowing that he did in college, then it would be perfect for a franchise that desperately needed to surround Kemba Walker with more talent.

Alas, here we find ourselves in the summer of 2019 and Monk has proven to be more of a project than an immediate high-level contributor. He also is the biggest x-factor to this Hornets rebuild.

Malik has proven, so far, to be a very streaky player. He can still show flashes of his potent shooting ability along with some crafty playmaking and unreal athleticism!

However, for as much as he shows his upside, his downsides are apparent as well. His lack of size and weight at the shooting guard position highlight is what endangers him from reaching his full potential.

Monk realizes this, himself, and has a goal to put on weight to help aid his defensive endeavors. He will also need to improve his defensive awareness to make an impact.

He also has never shown that he can consistently shoot the ball efficiently. That is a big issue that he will need to address if he wants to become a solid player.

Malik’s development should be the highest priority for the organization because he is in control of the gas pedal for the team’s future.

You do not need to watch very much of a good Malik Monk game to see his incredible potential as a scorer and playmaker. He has the ability to play either guard spot if he grows as a ballhandler and decision-maker; this is the art of being fast but not in a hurry.

These are the type of skills that come with time and experience.

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He has been often compared to a player like Lou Williams or Terrance Ross; a projection as a sixth man whose assignment is to come off the bench and score. Malik did some of that last year for a short stretch and looked good at times but was inconsistent.

If he can find some sort of consistency to his shooting, then he can unlock the door to becoming a real difference-maker.

Although being the sixth man is a logical conclusion for fans to come to, his ceiling can be more than that. He could become a CJ McCollum type; a fringe all-star with a knack for scoring the ball at all three levels: from three, mid-range, and finishing at the rim.

Again, experience and time in the league help tremendously with understanding the pace of the game and finding how to be effective.

That is obviously a best-case scenario, but it is not unfathomable to believe that with the right coach, system, and dedication that he could become an impact player in this league.

The fact that he has such a high ceiling while simultaneously having a very low floor makes his future even more obscure and unpredictable.

If the Hornets find that they already have a few impact players like Malik Monk and Miles Bridges, then they can fully invest in them.

This would allow the team to find complementary players to build around, already drafted, Monk and Bridges. This would significantly shorten the time spent on their rebuild.

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It is much easier to move forward in a rebuild when you have already drafted who you are going to try to build around. There are a lot of questions about Malik and next year seems prime to provide some answers.