Malik Monk has been nothing short of a revelation for the Los Angeles Lakers as the talented guard seems to have found himself with the Purple and Gold.
The Lakers were able to sign Monk to a veteran minimum deal in the offseason and that is looking like the steal of the year considering how his role has expanded throughout the season. While Los Angeles has struggled to string together many wins, Monk remains a bright spot and should be a priority to re-sign once the summer comes around again.
Known as a scorer, Monk has picked up more responsibilities on that end because of his ability to create shots and playmake for others. In the loss to the San Antonio Spurs, LeBron James was a late scratch due to knee soreness, which meant someone would need to carry more of the scoring burden. Monk admitted in these instances he needs to be more aggressive but remain efficient from the field, which he wasn’t against the Spurs.
“I got to hit a couple more shots. I can’t go 1-for-7 or 8-for-22. I take full responsibility on that. Not being LeBron [James], but taking a little bit more of a from when he’s there. But I can’t go 1-for-7.”
As Monk noted, he finished with 17 points while shooting 8-for-22 from the field and 1-for-7 from three to go along with five rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes.
It is no secret that the team’s playoff hopes hinge on James playing at a superstar level, but Monk also acknowledged that the group needs to find ways to get wins when he is not available.
“You can’t really get mad though because you can’t control what other people’s bodies is doing. You can’t control injuries, you can’t control anything like that. It’s kind of frustrating that we have a great win like we did against Golden State and Bron and his knee is a little sore… But that’s us being NBA players. It’s our job to try and figure it out without him because he’s not always going to play.
“We got to do a better job of figuring things out as a team when he’s out.”
Monk’s 8-of-22 night shooting the basketball certainly was not one of his best performances and it particularly hurt because some of those misses could have swung the game in the Lakers’ favor. However, the other side to this situation is that even if Monk had a great shooting night, the Lakers did not do nearly enough defensively to get the win.
As of right now, there are no details as to how long James might need to sit out for. He has been bothered by knee swelling the past couple of months and right now it would not be a surprise to see him miss multiple games again. If that is the case, expect Monk to get even more aggressive and hopefully shoot better.
Frank Vogel likes combination of Malik Monk and Austin Reaves
The only bright side to recent injuries has been head coach Frank Vogel unearthing a combination that has played well. Monk and Austin Reaves have formed quite the tandem and Vogel expressed how pleased he has been seeing them share the floor together.
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