Charlotte Hornets

Why Charlotte Hornets’ top pick Malik Monk just might remind you of someone

Kentucky coach John Calipari said on ESPN that he knew the Hornets would select Malik Monk, because Monk’s game is reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s when he played for the Chicago Bulls.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said on ESPN that he knew the Hornets would select Malik Monk, because Monk’s game is reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s when he played for the Chicago Bulls. AP

The Charlotte Hornets used the No. 11 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft to select Kentucky shooting guard Malik Monk.

Monk, who is 6-foot-3, averaged 19.8 points in his only college season. He shot 45 percent from the field and 40 percent from the college 3-point line. ESPN analyst (and Charlottean) Jay Bilas called Monk the best shooter in this draft class.

I think I’m a good fit. Kemba (Walker) is one of the better guards in the league. He gets into the lane.

Malik Monk

“They picked up Dwight Howard (in a Tuesday trade with the Atlanta Hawks) and a pretty good shooter in myself,” Monk said in a conference call with Charlotte media. “I think I’m a good fit. Kemba (Walker) is one of the better guards in the league. He gets into the lane.”

Monk said the best aspect of his game is the pull-up, mid-range jump shot.

“I know if I get to the mid-range, I have a much higher percentage there.”

Monk is a prolific shooter-scorer. But he’s a bit undersized for an NBA shooting guard and that could make it a challenge initially to play him alongside point guard Kemba Walker, also smallish for his position at 6-1.

Though surprised he fell out of top10, Malik Monk voiced happiness in playing with Kemba Walker next season.

The opportunity to draft Monk became real when the Sacramento Kings traded the No. 10 pick to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers selected Gonzaga big man Zach Collins, opening the door for Monk to be available.

I’m versatile. I can shoot the ball in all situations.

Malik Monk

“I’m versatile. I can shoot the ball in all situations,” Monk said on ESPN’s draft coverage just after being selected.

Monk said he met with Hornets owner Michael Jordan earlier in the week via Skype. The Hornets closely monitored the Monk situation this week, with his stock seemingly slipping to a point that he could reach No. 11.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said Malik Monk’s game is reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s when he played for the Chicago Bulls.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said on ESPN that he knew the Hornets would select Monk, because Monk’s game is reminiscent of Jordan’s when he played for the Chicago Bulls.

Monk won the Jerry West Award for the top shooting guard in college basketball. He was part of aWildcats draft class that included point guard De’Aaron Fox and center Bam Adebayo. The Hornets used a No. 2 overall pick on another Kentucky player, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, in 2012.

MonkHornets1
The opportunity for the Charlotte Hornets to draft Kentucky’s Malik Monk at No. 11 became real when the Sacramento Kings traded the No. 10 pick to the Portland Trail Blazers. Frank Franklin II AP

The Hornets’ other likely options with the 11th pick were guards Donovan Mitchell of Louisville and Luke Kennard of Duke. The Nuggets selected Mitchell and reportedly will trade him to the Utah Jazz. Kennard went to the Detroit Pistons.

Monk should provide a scoring burst off the bench. Depth has been a major concern for the Hornets, based on the weak performance from the second unit in a 36-46 season.

The Hornets started Nic Batum at shooting guard last season. Batum also played considerable minutes at small forward, where Kidd-Gilchrist started.

MonkWithSilver
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, left, greets Malik Monk after the Charlotte Hornets chose the shooting guard with the 11th pick of Thursday night’s draft. Frank Franklin II AP

The Hornets are still in search of depth at point guard behind Walker. The team must decide whether to exercise a team option of about $6 million for next season on veteran point guard Ramon Sessions.

The Hornets selected Duke point guard Frank Jackson 31st overall and are sending his rights to the New Orleans Pelicans, reportedly for cash and the 40th pick. At No. 40, the Hornets will get Florida State guard Dwayne Bacon.

Bacon averaged 17.2 points last season for the Seminoles. He shot 45 percent from the field, but just 33 percent from 3-point range..

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell

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