Malik Monk says he has ‘thrived’ in the Kings offense

Dec 6, 2023, 3:22 PM | Updated: 3:39 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 29: Malik Monk #0 of the Sacramento Kings reacts after making a th...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Malik Monk has been a perfect fit for the Sacramento Kings’ second unit as a scoring presence, but the guard has done more than rack up points during his season-plus with the ‘Beam Team.’

Playmaking has been an underrated aspect of Monk’s game, as the 25-year-old ranks third on the team in assists per game (4.6, a career-high) and total assists (87) through 19 games played.

After setting a career-high in 2022-23 by finishing 30 games with five or more assists (up from 13 games in 2021-22), Monk continues to act as the unofficial floor general of a second unit that has lacked stability at the point guard spot.

With defensive specialist Davion Mitchell struggling to find a rhythm on the offensive end and two-way guard Keon Ellis still finding his NBA game, Monk has been the leader of the bench unit with the basketball in his hands rather than a spot-up threat like he was during his early days in Charlotte.

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With the Hornets, Monk rarely initiated offense, while players like Kemba Walker and Michael Carter-Williams set the table while handling point guard duties.

Monk averaged 1.7 assists per game during the first three seasons of his career before inking a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, and that’s where his game began to take the next step.

The Lakers had stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis running the show, meaning that Monk had more on-ball opportunities while Los Angeles shuffled through a revolving door of backup guard options like Rajon Rondo, DJ Augustin, and Isaiah Thomas.

Monk averaged a then-career-high 2.9 assists per game with the Lakers in 2021-22, and his game has grown even more since signing a two-year deal with Sacramento last summer.

Over 96 games with the Kings, Monk has averaged 4.0 assists per game –more than doubling his average of 1.8 during his time with the Hornets.

During his four seasons with Charlotte, Monk handed out 409 assists over 233 games. In just 96 games with the Kings, Monk has dished 385 dimes.

The Kentucky product told reporters on Wednesday that he had been waiting for an opportunity to be back in a ball-dominant role, Sacramento’s dangerous offense has re-opened that door for him.

“I’ve been handling the ball my whole life, so I was just waiting for a team to let me get this opportunity,” Monk said on Monday afternoon at the Kings’ practice facility inside of Golden 1 Center. “Thankfully, it’s been Sacramento and I’m able to thrive in this scenario.”

Following a strong season in 2022-23, Monk is off to an even better start in 2023-24.

Over 19 games, Monk holds averaged of 14.8 points (career-high), 2.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists (career-high), and 0.8 steals per game on 42 percent shooting from three-point range (6.2 attempts per game).

Monk has put himself in position to make a run at the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, and Kings head coach Mike Brown emphasized how motivated the veteran guard has appeared during the early stages of the season.

“Malik, in terms of his attention to detail, being locked in, you can really see it,” Brown said of Monk following Monday’s practice session.

“He’s been a lot of fun to be around in practice. He’s been extremely vocal. He’s getting his work in at a higher level this year than last year, either pre-practice or post-practice. So, the way he is performing, and I’m not talking in the games, the way he is performing in terms of his preparation and then having that carry over into practices and shootaround is starting to show in the game.”

Monk has been a sparkplug for Sacramento since he first put on a Kings jersey, and now he’s making a difference in ways outside of just scoring the basketball–and that’s a scary development for opposing defenses.

When is the next Sacramento Kings Game?

The Kings will travel to Phoenix on Friday night, where they will face Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns for the first time this season.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Suns coverage, beginning at 4:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 6:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Phoenix.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, December 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 6:00 PM PST
  • Monday, December 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. Brooklyn Nets – 7:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, December 12th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Clippers – 7:30 PM PST
  • Thursday, December 14th – Sacramento Kings vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, December 16th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7:00 PM PST

** NBA In-Season Tournament Knockout Round

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