At his last workout of the pre-draft process, Malik Monk was asked to share with reporters what his best skill was. He didn’t hesitate to fire back.
“Everything,” he said with a giant smile on his face. Watching Monk play at Kentucky, his self-assurance leaped off the screen—particularly if you were paying close attention to his shot selection—and he was quite comfortable mixing in jokes about his ability with real assessments of his game.
“I think I could go 1, 2, 3,” he said, “but I’m probably not.”
For Monk to get consideration at No. 3, he’s going to have to be able to do a lot more than just shoot the rock, even if he is a lights out shooter from downtown. Brandon Williams, the 87ers GM and Sixers’ VP of basketball administration, said Monk’s size necessitates him being able to fill a variety of roles.
“I think is the hope is that you can grow him, that at his size he’s gotta be a combo,” said Williams. “Particularly in today’s NBA, we need players who can play multiple positions. So beyond the shooting is how much shot creation for others does he have in his game?”
That mentality was clear in the battery of tests we saw Monk run through during his workout. The Sixers’ training staff rotated the responsibility of guarding him during offensive set drills, and they did not give him an inch of breathing space. It forced Monk into some uncomfortable situations, and while he resorted to throwing up a few contested jumpers, he also managed to make several excellent passing reads, hitting shooters in the corner with whip passes and finding rollers over the top on pick-and-rolls.
Monk—who averaged just 2.3 assists per game at Kentucky—is not exactly entering the league with the reputation of a floor general. But he dismissed the idea that his passing creativity was a concern, and said prior to arriving on campus, many threw the opposite concern in his face.
“Some people said I couldn’t play off the ball when I went to Kentucky, and I think I did a pretty good job with that,” he said. “I think I just have to adjust and get in the weight room ... Not that many people have seen my passing abilities, I think they’re pretty good, and I can get people involved just like they can get me involved.”
If the Sixers are in the market for Monk, though, they’ll want him to do one thing above all else—make shots, and space the floor for their talented pieces already in place. And boy, is he pretty good at that.
Any Sixers fans interested in a shooter? pic.twitter.com/ydrmz9pmtK— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) June 15, 2017
He was happy to tell you how well he’d fit in with the man who most think will be running the show.
“Ben’s here, he’s a great passer,” he said. “I think they need a shooter like this. Like me, Terrance Ferguson, 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.”
Confident as he is about his fit, not everything came so easy for Monk at his workout with the 76ers.
Monk had to work for this one: pic.twitter.com/iXOQy12ntN— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) June 15, 2017
But that didn’t stop him from retaining a sense of humor when he was asked to sum up the day.
“I think they saw a little bit of everything, I think I showed them everything they wanted to see,” he said. And then he laughed to himself. “That’s why they stopped the workout.”