Malik Monk Needed To Improve Defense To Play Bigger Role For Lakers, But Frank Vogel ‘Loves’ His Game
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Malik Monk has emerged as a strong scoring option for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2021-22 season while the team’s stars have been sliding in and out of the rotation since the campaign started.

Monk averages 9.9 points this season, shooting 35.8% from behind the 3-point line. But he has ended up in double-digits a few times after fine performances this year, most recently chipping in 22 points in the 117-92 win over the Sacramento Kings.

The 23-year-old guard’s role increased as the season went on, spending on the floor six more minutes per game in games 11-20 (26.0) than in the first 10 outings (20.0). But to climb up the team’s hierarchy, Monk said he couldn’t just rely on his offensive prowess.

He had to work on his weaknesses on the defensive end if he wanted to become an important part of head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation.

“Just trying, trying to be in the right spot,” Monk said.

“And I know the spots and sometimes I get a little lazy, but I know defense is going to keep me on the court, so I just go out there and play hard, trying to play hard every possession and be in the right position. And when I do that, I stay on the court.”

Vogel says he ‘loves’ Monk’s game

Monk has proven to be the offensive threat the Lakers wanted to add to their roster when they signed the guard last summer. His scoring talent flared up against the Kings again, most notably when he hit a buzzer-beater triple from around the logo area before halftime.

After seeing the guard hit the stunning dagger 3-pointer and make a whole slate of difficult shots on Tuesday, Vogel said he is a big fan of Monk’s game.

“Anybody hitting shots like that is going to help your team, but I just love Malik’s game,” he said. “His ability to make plays off the bounce and his composure when he’s penetrating is really good. His ability to finish at the rim and then he can get really hot at the three-point line like he was tonight as well.

“Both in catch-and-shoot situations and sometimes even off the bounce. There’s a reason why we brought him here. We’re very high on him. He’s a big reason we got the W tonight and he had a hell of a game.”

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