Malik Monk’s second year at the NBA Summer League got off to an impressive start. He put up 23 points on 9-13 shooting (4-9 from deep) in 27 minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, but with three seconds remaining in the game, Monk fractured his right thumb after slamming the ball on the floor. The Charlotte Hornets have ruled him out for the remainder of the Summer League and he is expected to be re-evaluated in 6-8 weeks.
Monk is set to have a breakout season in year number two. In 63 games, he averaged only 6.3 points per game last season, but on extremely limited minutes. It wasn’t until the injury to Michael Carter-Williams that Monk was given a longer leash and allowed to play more within himself. In the 18 games he played in Carter-Williams’ absence, Monk averaged 12.1 points and 2.3 assists in 18.8 minutes per game, shooting 35.7 percent from deep.
His 2018 Summer League debut got off to a hot start and he was looking like one of several second-year lottery picks that were obviously too good to be there. It would have been great for him to ride that confidence into the regular season, but he should still be ready to go for the start of training camp.
The Hornets have gone through a full front-office rebrand, bringing in former Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak as both GM and President of Basketball Operations. Kupchak then brought in former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach James Borrego as head coach, who has stated he wants to play more uptempo and with more focus on Monk.
Borrego called Monk “a major player for us next (season)” during a recent interview with the Charlotte Observer.
Monk is built to thrive in the modern NBA. He’s insanely athletic with a deadly stroke who can run up and down the court. If the Hornets want to get younger and push the pace, it’s going to start with Monk.