Malik Monk has been of the Los Angeles Lakers players who have seen their role change on a weekly basis due to the volatile nature of the team’s season.
Monk started the 2021-22 campaign as someone who provided L.A. with an offensive spark off the bench. But the 23-year-old guard quickly become one of the pillars of the Lakers’ offense, earning him a spot in the starting lineup in December.
However, Monk has made eight starts in 13 games since the turn of the year, suggesting the Kentucky product hasn’t yet established himself as a permanent starter. But head coach Frank Vogel said Monk will rack up more starts, particularly after registering his best performance of the season in Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
“He had 33 points as a starter last game, so I would say he’s going to be starting again and he picks up a big chunk of the scoring load with LeBron [James] out,” Vogel said.
“We use him in the second unit. That’s something that’s been a positive of ours. … When a player is that hot, you got to maximize his usage. I would say he’s likely to stay in the starting lineup, yes.”
Vogel admitted the roles of certain players on the roster — including Monk’s — will continue to change until the Lakers have their Big 3 back together.
“I’m not locked into it, to be honest with you,” the head coach said of Monk’s role.
“We’re going to have Russ, Bron, and AD and we need shooters and defenders around them. That could be Stanley [Johnson] and Avery [Bradley]. That could be Trevor [Ariza], could be Austin [Reaves]. Malik as a scorer. We want to find the right balance once we’re fully healthy, but we haven’t had that chance.
“Once we have all three of those guys in there, we can those lineups and who we like around them.”
Monk feels Lakers are yet to show resilience this season
Instead of celebrating his season-high 33 points after the loss to Atlanta, Monk offered an honest assessment of the Lakers’ injury-riddled season.
“That happens in basketball, besides this COVID thing, you never know who’s gonna get hurt, who’s gonna be out, who’s got family issues and that’s something we’ve been battling all year,” Monk said.
“We don’t have the resilience yet, we don’t have it yet. That’s what we’ve been struggling with the whole season. We know what we got to do, we just got to put it together and we keep saying the same thing. We just got to go out there and do it.”
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