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NBA Predictions for Monk

By LARRY VAUGHT

Malik Monk is considered a lock to be a top 10 pick in the June NBA Draft, but that doesn’t mean everyone feels he is destined to be a NBA star.

Monk led the Southeastern Conference in scoring at Kentucky as a freshman and was among the nation’s elite scorers from 3-point range. Yet ESPN analysts Fran Fraschilla and Jeff Goodman both have some questions about his NBA future.

“I wish he was 6-5 and not 6-3 with an average swing span,” said Fraschilla. “I think Malik, once he settles into his NBA career, is going to be a scorer off the bench. I know he probably wouldn’t want to hear that, but he is a — he is still a volume shooter.

“He had the ultimate green light in high school. He had a green light at Kentucky. It actually hurt them at times. He can put the ball in the basket. There’s no doubt about it.

“But the fact that he’s undersized, with a below-average wingspan for the position, he is going to have to become what I call a technician. He is really going to have to work on NBA footwork, creating space and separation. It’s all there for him because when you draft these guys nowadays, for the most part, they’re NBA silly putty. You get to mold them with your coaching staff.”

Goodman said Monk’s consistency was the biggest question mark he had going into last season.

“I watched him a ton in AAU ball, and you’d see him go for 40 one game and then the next game come up with four points. He rarely did that this year,” Goodman said. “That’s what I think a lot of NBA scouts were really impressed with was consistent effort. He’s got to get better on the defensive end, but most kids do, unlike his backcourt mate De’Aaron Fox who’s a terrific defender.

“But I think with Malik Monk, it’s not being a volume guy. You know, being able to handle picking your spots in the NBA a little bit because who knows where he’s going to go and how many shots he’s going to get.

“He had a long leash in a sense for Kentucky because they needed him to score the ball, so I think it’s going to be different for him, most likely, in the NBA, he’s not going to come in and get 20 shots every game. So I think for him, it’s just going to be consistency with his effort and with his production.”

Fraschilla says he still likes what Monk can do and bring to a NBA team in the right setting.

“His NBA future to me is a lead off the bench scorer,” Fraschilla said.

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