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New York Knicks Draft Watch: Combo Guard Malik Monk, Kentucky Wildcats
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15 Jun 2017 07:04 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Kentucky’s Malik Monk goes up for dunk. (Image Source: Getty Images)

Owners of the number eight overall selection, the New York Knicks will be picking in the top 10 of the NBA Draft for just the second time in the past eight years. The club is working out prospects, which we will continue to breakdown leading up to the draft. Today we take a look at former Kentucky Wildcats guard Malik Monk, who has a workout with the Knicks scheduled this week.

Measurables: Like many of the top prospects Monk skipped the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. At 6’3” and 185 pounds, the Wildcat is undersized for a shooting guard. His wingspan is 6’6” and his reach 8’6” providing some length. It’s been reported that Monk flashed a 42” vertical leap during a preseason combine at Kentucky.

Scouting Report: A pure scorer, Monk can flat out fill it up and when he gets going he’s nearly impossible to stop. So explosive, the UK product might be the best prospect in this class when it comes to putting the ball in the basket.

He’s extremely quick with the ability to blow by defenders using his strong ball handling skills and first step. Not just a penetrator, Monk is a finisher, who is no stranger to the highlight dunk thanks to elite leaping ability. Getting to the free throw line, where he excels, is another strength of his game. In one-on-one situations Monk can create offense on his own. A good enough ball handler to take on some of the lead guard duties.

He’s also one of the better three-point shooters in this class with excellent range. Monk is both prolific and proficient, coming off a season in which he led the SEC in three-point makes and percentage.

With his length, quickness, and all-around athleticism, Monk has the skills to develop into a very good defender. Capable of guarding either point or shooting guards. Kentucky’s coach John Calipari believes his athletic ability will not only allow him to develop into an elite defender, but a top-notch rebounder as well. Calipari has also raved about Monk’s basketball IQ and ability to learn.

Like his Wildcats backcourt mate De’Aaron Fox, Monk needs to get stronger. There are some scouts who wonder where he fits? He might be too small to play shooting guard, but lacking the playmaking skills of a point guard. His shot selection needs improvement, which would probably help with his consistency as a perimeter shooter, as he can be very streaky.

Need/Fit: In the New York Knicks offense, it’s very possible that Monk could be a great fit as a point guard, because of his ability to score, move without the ball, spot up, and slash to the basket. MSG Network analyst Wally Szczerbiak, who called Monk, “the best player in this draft coming off the ball” (per the New York Post), believes the triangle offense is perfect for the Kentucky man. If the Knicks are confident he can handle lead guard duties to complement his scoring ability Monk might be the guy Phil Jackson targets next week at the NBA Draft.

Projection: Top 10

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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