Charlotte Hornets: Where do we go from here with Malik Monk?

Charlotte Hornets Malik Monk. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Malik Monk. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Charlotte Hornets, Devonte' Graham, Malik Monk
Charlotte Hornets Malik Monk and Devonte’ Graham (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

The Point Guard Role

In my opinion, this is a pretty logical route for Malik. Hornets coach Steve Clifford viewed Monk as a clear point guard. Furthermore, the current Charlotte Hornets point guard, Devonte’ Graham, is capable of running on and off the ball; it’s easy to envision the next playoff Charlotte Hornets drawing parallels to the two-headed monster in the Portland Trailblazers’ backcourt.

In the long term on defense, Monk would be best suited at point guard where his 6’2” frame and 6’7” wingspan would be considered above average. Of course, for Malik to effectively guard shifty point guards, he’d need to improve screen navigation, which is arguably his biggest weakness on defense.

Improved technique and urgency as a “point of attack” defender and Monk could definitely become a strong on-ball defender at the PG position, given his length, quickness, and improved strength.

On the offensive side, though Malik’s ceiling as a PG is currently capped. Monk needs to not only tighten his handles but also become shiftier and add more complexity to his dribble moves. He doesn’t need to be Kyrie Irving, but he needs to have more counter moves(spin moves, behind the back dribbles) rather than just pulling up or kicking it out when a driving lane is cut off.

Furthermore, Malik needs his pull-up jumper to return; the pull-up jumper, especially the pull-up 3, is almost a prerequisite to becoming an all-star point guard. Given Malik already sets up his left-to-right crossover well by denying ball screens, developing the pull-up three going left off the pick and roll would be a strong counter-move to that left-right crossover.

Teams haven’t really scouted for Monk in a point guard role yet, but if he were to get minutes at the 1 down the road, you could bet teams will start going under ball screens to minimize Monk’s opportunities for his bread and butter; getting deep into the paint, hitting floaters and layups through contact. The pull-up jumper is another shot Monk hit consistently in college, translating it to the league is pretty imperative for long term success.

Finally, to complete his passing skills out of the PnR, Malik must start making the skip pass to the corner; its the only pass Monk consistently misses in the PnR. Monk making this pass more frequently gets the defense scrambling more;  and once the opponent is scrambling, the Hornets generally do a good job of swinging the rock around the perimeter for a great shot.

Monk clearly has good enough vision on drive-and-kick plays to add this pass to his arsenal, and the good news is, Monk made a skip pass against the Bulls before his suspension, which created a great look for Miles off the catch.

However, there is an elephant in the room that must be addressed discussing the Charlotte Hornets guard.

dark. Next. The off-court stuff