Hornets select guard Malik Monk with No. 11 pick in draft
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Malik Monk was overwhelmed at the idea of being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, a team owned by former NBA star Michael Jordan.
''Michael Jordan is the GOAT,'' Monk said. ''... I still can't believe it. Maybe tomorrow I'll believe it.''
The Hornets bolstered their offense by selecting perhaps the best shooter in the NBA draft in Monk with the 11th overall pick on Thursday night. The Hornets later added small forward Dwayne Bacon from Florida State at No. 40 after trading down nine spots and picking up cash from New Orleans.
Monk said he plans to pick Jordan's brain when he gets to Charlotte.
''I think he'll teach me a lot and I'll take an even bigger step each year,'' Monk said. ''Each year I'm going to try to learn as much as I can from him.''
So what if he gets a chance to play against Jordan in a 1-on-1 game?
''I'm going to beat him,'' Monk said with a laugh.
Two days after trading for eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard to upgrade their inside game, the Hornets turned to their perimeter shooting with the addition of the 6-foot-3 Monk. The Hornets finished 18th in the league in 3-point shooting percentage last season at 35.1 percent.
When asked what he'll bring to the Hornets, Monk's response was pretty simple and to the point: ''A winner.''
''He can really score and provides athleticism,'' Hornets general manager Rich Cho said.
Monk raised his stock with a 47-point performance on eight 3-pointers against eventual national champion North Carolina last December. Monk went on to be named SEC freshman of the year, averaging 19.8 points per game and shot 39.7 percent from 3-point range while earning a reputation as an outstanding mid-range shooter.
He was the winner of the Jerry West Award given to the nation's top shooting guard after establishing a Kentucky freshman-record with 754 points. He finished as the second-highest scoring freshman in the country, behind only No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz of Washington (23.2 ppg).
Monk helps fill the void created by the trade that sent backup shooting guard Marco Belinelli to Atlanta in the deal for Howard. He is expected to work into the rotation as a backup to Nicolas Batum.
Monk was projected to go in the top 10 in many mock drafts and said he thought he would got the New York Knicks at No. 8, which is why he never worked out for the Hornets.
Cho said the Hornets thought there was a ''slim chance'' he might slide to No. 11.
The slight fall didn't seem to bother Monk much.
''Nothing is disappointing about getting drafted,'' Monk said. ''This has been my dream forever, and nobody ever from my hometown (of Lepanto, Arkansas) has been drafted. Nobody has ever made it this far, so I'm just thankful to be here.''
Bacon gives the Hornets another option at small forward behind Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who has been solid as a defender but struggled to become a consistent scorer. The 6-foot-7, 200-pound Bacon averaged 17.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game for the Seminoles.
''He's an explosive scorer and provides us some depth as well,'' Cho said.
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