Deep Dive on Malik Monk
By Rocco Minsk Malik Monk lit up fantasy owners’ radar screens last night when he went for a career-high 25 points in the Hornets’ victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Most assuredly, many fantasy owners have already gone out on the waiver wire to pick up the 19-year old rookie who is thought to have much upside. This upside was on full display when Monk erupted for 14 points in four minutes last night. But the question is whether adding Monk is the right move.
The opportunity in Charlotte was created by the elbow injury to Nicholas Batum. It has been reported that Batum is nearing a return to practice and will be game ready in three weeks at the most. In addition, Michael Carter-Williams was recalled from his D-League rehab stint and stands points to make his Charlotte debut. MCW does not have much fantasy value of his own at this point because fantasy value requires the ability to shoot the basketball, but he has just enough value to negatively detract from others.
Looking at Monk’s game, there is plenty to doubt at this point from a fantasy standpoint. The first glaring hole is his efficiency, or lack thereof. Monk checks in with a PER of 8.43. This ranks 258th out of 317 eligible players in the NBA and right behind Norman Powell, a player who I repeatedly pan in this space. Monk’s shooting and consistency leave much to be desired. His shooting percentage is a paltry 35.3% and that is skewed upwards by his 10 of 17 performance last night. It is probable that Monk will have as many 2-8 shooting performances as he will good games Monk’s usage rate is on the high side, which gives room for optimism, but that is skewed by the fact that Monk does little but shoot averaging a shot almost every half a minute – that is not the kind of usage that will help your fantasy team. Additionally, in losses, Monk’s shooting falls off the map, dropping below 21%!
At Kentucky, Monk was a score first player with few contributions elsewhere on the stat sheet, and that shows no signs of changing as a pro. With a full complement of playing time, Monk will score points and add 3s, but will not do much else and will drop your team’s FG%. The issue at this point is for how long Monk will be receiving extended playing time. Once Batum and Carter-Williams return, Monk could even be dropped down on the second unit as Jeremy Lamb and MCW will be backing up Kemba Walker and Batum. At that point, Monk would become a 15 minute a game player who would come on to provide some instant offense and then take his seat on the bench.
While Monk’s contribution last night was nice to see from a 19-year old rookie, you should let someone use their waiver wire priority on him and look elsewhere for production. Monk just does not have the multi-dimensional game to contribute to your bottom line and will not even get the opportunity to in several weeks time.