Nearly a month after Charlotte Hornets rookie Malik Monk was ruled out of summer league with a sprained ankle, he still hasn’t been cleared for full basketball activity.
But that should change in the next few days
Monk, the No. 11 overall pick last month, said his target date to return to the court is Tuesday. He injured his left ankle in a pre-draft workout, and the Hornets ruled him out of Orlando summer league games and practices.
Monk spoke with media Saturday at an autograph signing in Simpsonville, Ky., near Louisville. Monk starred at shooting guard for Kentucky in his one college season before turning pro.
Monk was so frustrated by sitting out that he avoided watching summer league games.
“If I’m not playing, I can’t watch,” Monk said. “I was mad the whole time. So, yeah, I was super mad.”
The Hornets told Monk it was more important to heal the injury than try to play through it in Orlando. With Monk out, the Hornets’ other rookie, second-round pick Dwayne Bacon from Florida State, had a couple of big games starting at shooting guard.
The Hornets had hoped to experiment with Monk some at point guard in summer league, where there are not stakes as big as winning or losing games that count. Monk is somewhat undersized at 6-3 to be an NBA shooting guard. He didn’t play the point at Kentucky, but believes he has the skills for either guard position.
“I think they want me to do both,” Monk said. “I think I can do it pretty good.”
Monk averaged 19.8 points and shot 40 percent from the college 3-point line last season. However, he might struggle defensively against players who will generally be taller than him.
Monk said he looks forward to playing alongside Hornets starting point guard Kemba Walker. Monk sees similarities between Walker, an All-Star last season, and former Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, the fifth overall pick to the Sacramento Kings.
“Kemba does everything just like Fox,” Monk said.
Monk showed his cocky side Saturday, repeating that he’d beat Hornets owner Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one. Jordan might have been the greatest player of his generation – maybe ever – but, as Monk noted, he is 54.
“He’s pretty old right now,” Monk said of Jordan. “I think I can get him.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell