When the Charlotte Hornets selected Malik Monk on the 23rd of June 2017, the expectation was a dynamic scorer that would immediately give Kemba Walker a chop-out.
However, it would be safe to say the Arkansan’s first two seasons in the Queen City didn’t meet expectations, where Malik Monk was stuck behind other Charlotte Hornets teammates such as Jeremy Lamb, Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Parker.
However, year three was supposed to be a fresh start; Kemba left Charlotte, the pressure on the team to make the playoffs was reduced, and between Dwayne Bacon, Devonte’ Graham, Terry Rozier, and Monk there was to be an even, four-way battle for the two starting backcourt positions.
As it turned out, Monk struggled to prove himself to Borrego; the Hornets coach initially putt faith in Terry Rozier and Dwayne Bacon as the starting backcourt, and once the wheels started turning for Devonte Graham’s MIP campaign, Graham and Rozier ended up being Borrego’s preferred 1-2 punch for the rest of the season. In a cruel twist of irony, Monk’s only start for the season(and his career) came in the last game of the season before his suspension, a 39 point blowout loss to Indiana.
As said in part I of this series, Monk’s stats this season are fairly pedestrian. 10.3 points a game ranks t-132 in the NBA; 2.1 assists per game is 118th. Impact metrics don’t paint a pretty picture either; -1.0 OBPM is 147th in the league, 0.85 ORPM is 78th in the league, -1.42 OPIPM is 405th in the league, -1.50 Offensive RAPTOR is 194th in the league.
However, there’s much more complexity to this issue than simply saying, “Malik Monk sucks.” A combination of career-worst shooting(which we’ll talk about more in part IV), unsuitable role(playing off-ball to Terry Rozier), and inconsistent minutes(3 games playing less than 9 minutes and a DNP-CD; whilst only playing four games over 30 minutes) are all reasons Monk occasionally struggled to build rhythm on offense.
In spite of these reasons, Monk still flashed some pretty promising offense in his third season.