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Can this team win without Malik Monk?


This is the big question that Cats fans should be asking themselves at this point in the season. When doing research on this topic, I came across a tweet from Jeff Borzello of ESPN.

This was tweeted at halftime, so if we go through and update his percentages, Monk is shooting 40% from the field and 30.2% from 3.

It is no secret that this team’s offense runs through Malik Monk. Without him, the Cats would have very little offense at all. Can the Cats win when Malik is not having his best game? The answer is yes, but could they beat a good team without Monk? That, as of right now, is a no. Kentucky’s best win, North Carolina in Vegas, Malik Monk scored 47 points in one of the more impressive shooting performances of recent memory. This allowed Kentucky to win by 3, proving Monk had to have a great game for Kentucky to win. In the games Kentucky has lost, Monk has been a non-factor in all of them, except UCLA.

Is Monk Kentucky’s most important player? Three weeks ago, I think I would have said no and instead answered De’Aaron Fox, but Kentucky proved that they CAN beat a team without Fox. The catalyst in that game? Malik Monk.

The key for Monk to have a good game, is for all of his surrounding pieces to work. When Willis is hitting outside shots, Bam is playing well in the paint and Briscoe’s layups are falling, it opens up Monk to have more opportunities for one-on-one. When this happens this team becomes a lot harder to beat.

What do you all think? Can Kentucky win without Malik Monk? Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter @GormleyKSR.

Article written by Sam Gormley

Follow me on Twitter @GormleyKSR; "The Whitest Man in the World"-JRock

19 Comments for Can this team win without Malik Monk?

  1. RealCatsFan
    12:30 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    The statement about “more one-on-one opportunities” for Monk speaks volumes to me. Ithink the one-on-one stuff is a major reason we are in this mess. At the beginning of the season the Cats were very unselfish, making the extra pass for easy scoring opportunities. We are playing hero ball now. They need to start by working on fundamentals of defense to generate some fast break opportunities like we did before.

    • binarysolo
      12:59 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

      Our pre-conference schedule was largely padded with cupcakes at Rupp or good teams on neutral sites (Mich State, UNC) so this team was playing looser and sharing the ball. The team was having fun. We’re seeing problems now, playing on the road in hostile environments, that were masked in the cupcake wins. Now the guys have regressed to their AAU days when they were able to simply rely on their talents against inferior opponents and that doesn’t cut it in college. Hero ball.

      Leadership is also a concern, which was brought up last night on the KSR post-game show.

      I was the most concerned about Monk’s game-winning 3 vs UNC. Much was made of Cal telling Monk to drive it, but him ignoring it and swishing the 3. Yes he got UK the W, but did that lead him think he doesn’t have to listen to his coach?

    • syrin
      3:29 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

      I agree. It feels like our guys are playing for highlight reels and not to win. Remember when we were talking about Fox breaking the single season assist record? No assists last night but a TON of lazy one handed passes to the Florida defenders. Monk is playing to improve draft status, and Cal blames his for players. You ever seen a coach say what Cal says? I never heard Sabah say, yeah I knew we were gonna lose a bunch, and there was nothing I could do about it. Who says that? Why does Cal get a pass? Because he can recruit and wins the NBA draft? Villanova has as many titles as Cal since he came to U.K.

  2. maximumscott
    12:33 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    They will get it. Cal let them learn the hard way. They will be back. Too much damn talent for them not to go deep in March. Guard play rules in March.

    • syrin
      3:31 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

      Then we are in trouble. This team could lose to a can Mcneese State.

  3. Kat4Life
    12:47 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    Even Cal mentioned something about “quit watching the NBA Draft predictions” …….. too much individual agenda to be a great team……it’ll be the same next year……..

  4. binarysolo
    12:53 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    The question should really be can UK win without Monk playing at all. I hope we never have to find out, but since you’re comparing with UK winning with Fox out sick that’s a better comparison.

  5. MHS64
    12:57 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    The talent level on this team is way over rated. We couldn’t win in 2014 with Towns, Cauley-Stein, Johnson, and Lyles up front and Booker, Ullis, and Harrison twins in back court. I’m not sure I see any sure fire NBA starters among the current group and maybe only three that make a roster. All have big defects in their game.

    • binarysolo
      1:08 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

      I don’t think the talent level is the problem for this team, they just lack maturity and discipline. The 14-15 team was an anomally: the freshman class was way mature beyond their age (KAT especially, but also Booker, Ulis, Lyles), you had upperclassmen leadership in WCS, Poythress, Harrisons.

      This year’s team is loaded with talent, there’s just no one keeping them in check. All of the upperclassmen are role players. Briscoe is the closest thing to a veteran leader but he’s often not dialed in (how many head-down drives to the basket does he have to botch to learn not to do it anymore?).

  6. jim tom
    1:06 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    And it will continue as long as the one and done continues.

  7. jim tom
    1:16 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    Never thought I would say this but, I have Calipari fatigue.

  8. donjohnson
    1:18 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    There is 3 for sure NBA starters on our roster. Fox, monk, and bam will all eventually be starters. You guys are crazy

    Right now.the reason the game is so dictated by monk is he shoots all game contested or not and it does not matter if he is hitting. If he is off he goes 3 for 15 and we lose. He takes horrible shots all game every game.

    We are fine……we have a consistent effort problem on D….and the 4 is a disaster no matter who.plays. I almost wish we would just play mulder b/c Willis and Gabriel don’t rebound anyway. 4 guard and bam

  9. BigDaddyTR
    1:19 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    They have to get a better feel for the flow. When Monk goes from scoreless to hitting into 3 straight for 8 points and then doesn’t touch the ball again for several minutes, that’s no good. The other guards have to prioritize getting him the ball at the right time and the bigs have to focus on getting him open, so he doesn’t have to create his own shot (which clearly lowers his %). If he shows signs of getting hot and we force dribble penetration and turn it over instead…

  10. apocalypse
    1:39 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    There are 5 main issues with this team right now. One…lack of defensive effort, standing still, watching instead of moving, and boxing out.

    Two… you have one player that thinks he needs to shoot the ball, regardless of the shot clock, point of the game, ect. That needs to be stopped right now, period

    Three… Our 4 spot is giving us nothing, either on offense or defense. Either Willis or Gabriel needs to step it up.

    Four… Coaching. We continue to do the same things every game and all I hear is Calipari saying these kids need to be responsible for the game. Hell, your making over SEVEN MILLION a year, do your damn job and coach. Try something else, because what your doing is not working.

    Defense… We lack the effort or the will so Calipari needs to go back to putting guys on the bench when they lack the effort to play defense. I don’t care who it is, you don’t play defense, you sit.

  11. wdkaatfan
    1:59 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    In my opinion, not having a viable option at the four spot is hurting this team. We should’ve gotten way more rebounds yesterday than we did. Bam can’t do it all. He needs help in the post.

  12. 8xchamp
    2:05 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    Let’s face it, he doesn’t play much defense, doesn’t rebound, and takes terrible contested shots. When he’s on that’s great. And him laughing after being down 20. Let’s cut his minutes down to 30 a game. And smack bam every time he shoots triple teamed.

  13. mikeintn
    2:08 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    I could not have said it any better # 10, you are right, they would be on the bench every game, and I would play everyone at the end of the bench, and loose every game if I had to, or they would do what I said, I know I for one would be fine with it, some say it would hurt recruiting, I would say do you really want someone that’s not going to listen to you.

  14. jkell
    4:49 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    Well, right now it’s not looking like it. But we haven’t seen the Coach Cal mid-season tweak yet either. I think we’re in need of it soon.

  15. kentuck1
    5:14 pm February 5, 2017 Permalink

    Yes, they could win without Malik Monk but they are a better team with him….if he is used properly. If you think he is going to be “hot” every game, you will be severely disappointed, because defenses will prepare for his game.

    Basketball is still a team sport. Wilt Chamberlain was one of the most dominant players ever to play the game and he alone could not win a championship for Kansas.

    This team needs to take pride in assists again. They need to pass the ball and get everyone involved. They need to play defense and rebound the ball. It’s all about basics.