After being drafted 11th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, Malik Monk was supposed to be the next bucket getter in Charlotte to play with Kemba Walker. Through inconsistent playing time and his poor defense due to his size, Monk has been seen as a disappointment so far as a top-15 draft pick.
The most infamous and hilarious moment of his Charlotte career came when team owner Michael Jordan slapped Monk upside the head for making a foolish play when he was not even playing.
In his fourth NBA season, last year, Monk seems to have found his confidence. Finding himself in impactful junctures of games, Monk seems to have find the shooting stroke he had in Kentucky, averaging close to 12 points a game and a remarkable 40% from the perimeter in 20 minutes per game.
Dwight Howard recently talked to SBNation’s Harrison Faigen about his time with Monk in Charlotte.
“He’s always been great…he’s always been amazing. Since I’ve been with him in Charlotte, I’ve always talked to him about just being patient, and just waiting. ‘You’re gonna get your time’. And it seemed like everything just happened at the right time for him. He was in Charlotte, he didn’t really get a lot of opportunities to play, but now he’s on a team where everybody is going to see how talented he is, and I know he’s going to shin. I’ve been a big fan of his since he was young, and I’m happy that we’re teammates again.”
Fast forward to the past week practicing with the Lakers, things seem to be looking up for Monk’s prospect with this team.
Obviously, practices are not absolute in translating to game time, but like Howard said, he will have every opportunity to succeed with this team, especially with the quality of teammates he has here than he did in Charlotte.
Could the former Kentucky star potentially carve out a starting role for the team?
“We haven’t talked about that yet,” Monk said at Tuesday's Lakers’ Media Day. “I think we’re all just going to compete, man. I’m here. I don’t care if I start or come off the bench, I’m just here to be the best Malik I can be for the Lakers.”
At this point, it may make more sense if Monk came off the bench. With Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook starting, there are only so many mouths to feed, and Monk will definitely get more opportunities if he came in to help score buckets in spurts.
Hopefully, his new ‘Microwave’ moniker translates during game time and he becomes the 2022 Lakers version of Vinnie Johnson.