In their first game of the preseason, the Los Angeles Lakers were blown out, 123-97, by the Brooklyn Nets, though they were without several key members.
LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza all sat out the game, while Anthony Davis only played the first quarter before heading to the bench the rest of the afternoon. Despite the loss, there were a couple of bright spots, particularly Malik Monk, who led the Lakers in scoring with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting off the bench.
Monk has been turning heads throughout training camp, with head coach Frank Vogel noting that his versatility offensively is what has stuck out the most. After Monk’s performance against the Nets, Davis admitted that he and the rest of the team are still shocked they were able to land him in free agency.
“We’re still surprised we got him, to be honest,” Davis said. “He’s such a hell of a player. We saw what he did out there the minute he played. He can score the ball all three levels. Play hard, make the right reads. So he’s going to be fun to have this year.”
Monk was by far and away the most exciting player on the court for the Lakers as he was able to create his own shot and knock down jumpers from deep. L.A. sorely missed players last season that could make plays off the bounce, but that does not seem to be an issue for Monk, who looks comfortable when the ball is in his hands.
Even though Monk was one of the few players successful against the Nets, it stands to reason that he might look even better playing alongside the stars as they should be able to give him even better looks. Regardless, it was encouraging to see Monk play well right off the bat and he might have already made his case to start going forward.
Malik Monk does not care about starting or coming off the bench
Vogel has the opportunity to evaluate his team during the preseason and determine who should start next to James, Davis, and Westbrook. While Monk might be considered the frontrunner right now, the guard himself does not seem concerned about it and is willing to start or come off the bench during the year.
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