Malik Monk emerged as one of the Los Angeles Lakers’ leading scorers toward the halfway mark of the 2021-22 season, helping the team turn things around on the offensive end.
The Lakers owned the fourth-worst offense in the NBA between the beginning of December and Christmas Day, dealing with injuries and a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak along the way. Back then, Monk himself entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, missing five games before making his comeback against the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 25.
Since the Christmas Day clash, L.A. has boasted the best offense in the league with an offensive rating of 120.0. Monk averaged 20.2 points, shooting 52.5% from the field and 50.0% from beyond the arc — while starting eight of the nine games during that stretch.
“It’s tough to say if it’s really changed it because from Day 1 I’ve had a ton of confidence in Malik Monk and his overall game,” said head coach Frank Vogel when asked whether Monk’s hot streak has solidified his role.
“So it definitely solidified it maybe, but I don’t think it’s really grown from where it was to begin the season, which was very high.”
Vogel previously praised Monk for his versatility on the offensive end and hustle on defense — which has never been one of the Kentucky alum’s strengths — although the guard has impressed with in recent weeks.
Vogel believes Monk can get quality defender
The one knock on Monk has been his defense, although Vogel believes he has the capability of getting the job done of that end of the floor.
“He’s got the speed and athleticism to get the job done,” Vogel said after Friday’s practice. “Obviously, really our whole team right now, there’s some habits that he can be better with that he has a great attitude about and he’s working towards it, but he’s got great athleticism and quickness to do everything you need to do on that side of the ball.”
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