Malik Monk’s time in Charlotte may have come to an unceremonious end with the former lottery pick not having a qualifying offer extended to him, effectively ending his time with the franchise. However, that hasn’t dampened the Kentucky product’s spirits as he landed in Los Angeles this summer.
After a tumultuous run in Charlotte, at times with younger teams like last season, Monk is joining a Lakers team that is one of the oldest in the league, an environment he is welcoming with open arms.
“The environment, man,” Monk said of why he joined the Lakers during his introductory press conference on Friday. “And this organization, and all the knowledge that I’ll learn. How to be a pro, how to work, how to work smarter and just how to be a man too, as well. I’m still learning, I’m still going through life too.
“I’m 23. So these guys have been doing it a lot longer, and so I can ask a lot of questions and I can learn. Not just about being on the basketball court, but off the court as well. That was the biggest thing.”
While Monk was still on the younger side of the Hornets’ roster last season, entering the season, Gordon Hayward was the only player at least 30 years old. This season, the only players under 30 years old on the Lakers roster currently are Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and Anthony Davis.
One of those veterans set to be in the backcourt with Monk this year is newly-acquired Russell Westbrook, a player Monk expressed enthusiasm to get to learn from this season.
“I can’t explain how excited I am, man,” Monk said of the opportunity to play with Westbrook. “How to attack. When to attack, when not to attack, and just how to be on ‘Go Mode’ the whole time. His intensity, he never takes no plays off. He’s always going 100%, and that’s what I can take and learn from him too.”
Monk’s game often features streakiness both within games and throughout the season. Last season, for example, Monk had 20 games scoring less than 10 points and 14 games scoring 11-20 points as his offense waned throughout the year. All but one of those 14 games came in his final nine games of the year when Monk struggled mightily to close the season after returning from injury.
To have a mentor like Westbrook, who has garnered a long-standing reputation for being a great teammate willing to take younger players under his wings, could be big for Monk’s on-court development. For one of the first times in his career, Monk is set to be surrounded by a host of veterans, which could lead to a mutually beneficial partnership for both him and the Lakers.
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