Fans have waited for a big name draft prospect to arrive at the Sixers' practice facility, and they finally got their first look at one when Kentucky combo guard Malik Monk took part in a workout on Thursday that was open to the media.
"Combo guard" is the key phrase, as Monk made it a point to mention that he is not just a shooter. "I actually was doing anything they wanted me to do and let them know that I can play on the ball or off the ball...I'm comfortable with whatever. I can do one just as good as I can do the other one," said Monk following his workout.
At his size (6'3", 197 pounds) Monk certainly profiles as a point guard, and it would fill a role that the Sixers are likely looking to fill. The Sixers intend to play Ben Simmons at point guard, and the Sixers will need a guard to play off the ball, which is what Monk did with tremendous success at Kentucky. However, if Simmons is on a minutes restriction similar to what Joel Embiid had last season, or he just comes out of the game for a breather, the Sixers will need a reliable option to take over the ball handling duties, and Monk wanted the Sixers to know that he is capable of filling that role:
Monk displayed his versatility during the scrimmage portion of the workout, dishing the ball to teammates, displaying his range, driving the lane and making contested shots at the rim:
Monk had to work for this one: pic.twitter.com/iXOQy12ntN— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) June 15, 2017
Monk knocking down 3 baseline 3s in a row pic.twitter.com/OygUSBzClM— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) June 15, 2017
Monk said "Got 'Em!' pic.twitter.com/duxbO7XNsF— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) June 15, 2017
Sixers' Vice President of Basketball Administration Brandon Williams said "there is hope you can grow him, at his size he has to be a combo." In this sense, Monk checked off the appropriate boxes. He showed parts of his game that were not on display in his off-the-ball role at Kentucky.
Monk also fell short when it came to his most sought after trait. Monk was inconsistent with his deep shooting during the team portion, but he did start getting his shots to fall as the workout progressed. In an uncontested shooting drill, Monk shot the ball very well, proving that he does have the range to hit NBA three-pointers, but hitting more contested shots would have gone a long way in improving his draft stock.
Despite his inconsistent performance, Monk does not lack confidence, stating that he believes he is good enough to land anywhere in the first three picks. He did concede that he does not expect that to be the case next Thursday, however.
Monk believes he is a fit at third overall for the Sixers. "I think they need a shooter like this. Like me...anybody that can shoot the ball. I don’t want to name call or anything like that, but I think I can be a perfect fit," said Monk.
Monk does have a point. The Sixers woefully lack a reliable scoring option, and with the team building itself around Ben Simmons's distributing ability, a deadeye shooter like Monk would be a welcome addition to maximize Simmons's ability as a passer.
Monk averaged 19.8 points in 32.1 minutes per game, and made 39.7 of his shots from behind the arc. Monk routinely shot from NBA range in college, and said following his workout with the Phoenix Suns that his shooting range is "farther than" Stephen Curry's.
In addition to meeting with the Suns, who pick one spot behind the Sixers, Monk has met with the Orlando Magic (6th overall), and the New York Knicks (8th overall).
Monk has some competition if he is going to convince the Sixers that he will be their best fit, as on the same day that they hosted Monk the Sixers sent representatives to watch a private workout for NC State guard Dennis Smith Jr., and they will host De'Aaron Fox on Saturday. Fox played with Monk at Kentucky.
Is Malik Monk a reach at third overall?#SixersTalk— Jesse James Larch (@JesseLarch) June 15, 2017