It’s been known for years that Kentucky is the mecca of future NBA prospects. The 2017 NBA Draft will be no different.
The newest Wildcat class features Malik Monk, one of the most talented shooting guard prospects in years.
With NBA hopefuls such as De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo on its roster, Kentucky was once again loaded.
Make no mistake about it though, Monk is the best of the bunch. He’s a natural scorer, which many teams desperately search for each year.
There aren’t many elite shooting guards in the NBA. You’ve got Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal, and Devin Booker, among just a handful of others.
There is a lot of hope that Monk can add his name to this list as well. Judging by his collegiate stats and numbers, I’d say it’s a good bet he does.
In just one year at Kentucky, Monk, the SEC Player of the Year, averaged 19.8 points per game. Compare that to fellow Wildcat alum, Devin Booker, who only scored 10 points per contest. It’s a slightly unfair comparison though, as Booker played almost 10 minutes less than Monk.
A much more reliable comparison should be based on their numbers per 100 possessions. Monk has an advantage over Booker in points with 33.3 compared to Booker’s 29.
In fact, using the 100 possessions statistic, you’ll notice that Monk scored more than Bradley Beal, and was only three points shy of Klay Thompson’s mark during his Junior year.
Like Thompson, Beal, and Booker, Monk shoots a good amount of threes. He took 6.9 per game at Kentucky. While statistics like these aren’t a true indicator of NBA success, it should go a long way in telling you the type of player Monk could be at the NBA level.
As the Draft Lottery approaches, many NBA teams could be vying for Monk. Everyone knows the 2017 Draft is loaded with point guards, but there a few rosters that are in need of a shooting guard.
You’ve got the Celtics ( Who own the Brooklyn Nets pick) and Magic, as teams that should find a compliment to their PG’s in the backcourt. Can’t forget the Lakers, who while seemingly a lock for Lonzo Ball, might draft a SG if they wish to keep D’Angelo Russell at the point.
Just imagine what a backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Malik Monk would look like. That would give Boston one of the most formidable duos in the NBA.
Of course, Boston is just one example, but Monk is entirely capable of scoring double-digit points his rookie season. He’d help just about any team he gets selected by.
Unlike fellow NBA Draft prospect, Josh Jackson, Monk is a natural SG. Jackson plays comfortably at SF, meaning Monk is the clear-cut top SG in the draft.
As of now, he’s expected to be a top-five pick, behind Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, and Johnathan Issac.
With Devin Booker’s recent 70-point explosion, Monk has had to of seen his stock rise. Many teams are looking for the next Booker, and considering Monk played at Kentucky and plays the same position, many teams will be all over him come draft night.
It’s impossible to predict what Malik Monk will be at the NBA level. If you’re going by college stats, he’s one of the best SG prospects in years. At 6’3 he’s just about the right height for a player of that position. And as a 19-year-old, there is still some much untapped potential.
Without question, Monk will be the first SG taken at the 2017 NBA Draft. Whichever team selects him will be reaping the benefits for years to come. He’s got the potential to be an NBA All-Star. And in today’s NBA, that’s a goldmine for teams.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on twitter @dgentleman9288