What can Malik Monk do to win Sixth Man of the Year?
Sep 25, 2023, 1:42 PM | Updated: 8:18 pm
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Sacramento Kings won a handful of NBA awards last season. Mike Brown was the unanimous Coach of the Year, Monte McNair won Executive of the Year, De’Aaron Fox became the inaugural Clutch Player of the Year, and Domantas Sabonis led the association in rebounds per game.
Sixth Man of the Year went to Malcolm Brogdon of the Boston Celtics, but Malik Monk placed fifth in the voting.
Requirements for the Sixth Man of the Year title are a player that spent more games coming off the bench than they did starting. Additionally, 65 games are required to qualify for leaguewide awards as of this coming season. In Monk’s 77 games played last season, he came off the bench every showing.
Even on nights when Kevin Huerter was unavailable, the coaching staff would look in a different direction to maintain Monk’s typical minute rotation. In the postseason, he often closed games alongside De’Aaron Fox but was still not a member of the starting five.
Assuming relative health, Monk should meet the requirements. Most of the previous winners could put points up with ease. Brogdon’s average of 14.9 points per game last season was the lowest since Jamal Crawford’s 14.2 points in 2015-16.
2022-23 Sixth Man of the Year candidates
- 1st: Malcolm Brogdon – 26.0 minutes, 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists on 48.4/44.4/87.0
- 2nd: Immanuel Quickley – 28.9 minutes, 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists on 44.8/37.0/81.9
- 3rd: Bobby Portis – 26.0 minutes, 14.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists on 49.6/37.0/76.8
- 4th: Norman Powell – 26.1 minutes, 17.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists on 47.9/39.7/81.2
- 5th: Malik Monk – 22.3 minutes, 13.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists on 44.8/35.9/88.9
If Monk can improve his efficiency, specifically from beyond the arc, his numbers could pose a stronger argument. Consistency is also a major factor in these conversations.
In 54 games prior to the All-Star break, Monk tallied 13.4 points, 3.9 assists, and 2.6 rebounds on 44.3/32.8/91.3 shooting. After the break, he averaged 13.7 points, 3.9 assists, and 2.7 rebounds on 46.2/42.7/84.1 splits.
Thirteen of the last 20 Sixth Man of the Year winners were on teams that won a minimum of 50 games. Lou Williams 2017-18 Los Angeles Clippers (42-40) was the only winner on a team that was even near .500 during that time frame.
If the continuity and additions of Sasha Vezenkov and Chris Duarte allow the Sacramento Kings to flirt with a 50-win season, Monk’s chances of the award should improve dramatically. Also, Monk was often asked to run the offense when All-Star center Domantas Sabonis was getting a rest.
With their inconsistencies at backup centers, he was left without a regular pick-and-roll partner in those minutes. Chimezie Metu functioned as a lob threat. Trey Lyles opened up the paint for drive and kicks. Alex Len moved slower but set staggering screens.
Len and Lyles remain, but JaVale McGee is a new, intriguing piece for Monk to work with. The lob connection between Metu and Monk could also exist with McGee, and growing chemistry with a regular duo partner could be beneficial.
Monk’s 3.9 assists per game last season placed him seventh among bench players. He also recorded the seventh-high point per game total (13.5).
With another season in the system, his ability to have huge games, electric highlights, underrated playmaking, and potential team success, Malik Monk might be able to claim his first individual NBA Award. If his role remains comparable to what was asked of him in 2022-23, the Sixth Man of the Year award could be within reach.