Hornets coach James Borrego sees Malik Monk doing well alongside Kemba Walker
After missing the eighth spot in the final standings of the Eastern Conference this year by just seven games, the Charlotte Hornets are already looking towards next season. By next season, that means a mix of Kemba Walker and growth by Malik Monk.
Newly-appointed head coach James Borrego is wasting no time in preparing for next year and is already looking to establish his rotation as early as now. He has singled out Malik Monk as an integral piece in the roster and talks him up as detailed by Rick Bonnell in his piece for the Charlotte Observer.
“He’s what I’m looking for in playing the style I want to play: He can get to the rim. He can create his own shot. He can shoot it out to 3. He can play-make for us,” said Borrego.
The 20-year-old Monk who was picked up 11th overall in last season’s draft did not exactly light it up in his first year as a pro. Seeing action for only 13.6 minutes per game, the former University of Kentucky standout was only able to average a pedestrian 6.7 points on 36% shooting, one rebound, 1.4 assists, and 1.3 three-pointers per contest.
However, he came on towards the tail end of the season when he was given sufficient playing time. Monk scored an impressive 19.8 points per outing during the Hornets’ final six games of the season.
Borrego also believes in Monk’s potential to be a facilitator alongside his more established teammates:
“I see him as a playmaker, who can play with Kemba (Walker) and also be on the court without Kemba, creating offense for us,” added the coach. “(Or) pairing him and Nic Batum in a lineup where Nic is facilitating.”
It is undeniable that the raw talent is there for Monk and it will be intriguing to see if Borrego will be able to bring out the best in the sophomore next year.