With De'Aaron Fox garnering attention following Kentucky's Elite Eight loss, Malik Monk is still finding himself underrated and in his teammate's shadow.
Though the Knicks are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the team obviously has too much pride to come right out and say they're tanking the rest of the way. New York is arguably likely to end up with a pick between the ranges of 5 through 10. Should this be the case, Monk could receive consideration as their guy.
Monk's 10 point, 4-of-10 shooting performance in Sunday's loss unfortunately wasn't indicative of all that he can do on the court. That said, lost in North Carolina's buzzer-beating victory was Monk's clutch play right before. The guard took a handoff pass, getting just enough space against a double-teaming defense to hit a long range bomb. The dagger tied the game and gave Kentucky hope, albeit only for a few seconds more.
Monk can shoot the lights out. He likes to push the pace and hit running shots in transition. Often times, his lightning speed is just too quick for an opposing defense to put up enough pressure to throw him off. His explosiveness with the basketball in his hands is really special. He has great handles, but didn't really have the proper opportunity (while playing alongside Fox) to show off his vision.
He deferred to Fox as the floor general of his squad. However, that doesn't mean such a skill isn't in his arsenal as well. And the fact that he's a bit underrated in this draft could work in the Knicks' favor.
New York will need a young point guard to grow with its budding core. Whereas many score-first point guards are mostly confined to their one dimensional ways, there's certainly room and time for Monk to develop. The Knicks can mold him into the player they need him to be, all the while still taking advantage of his already-evident strengths.
All season long, the Knicks have craved for Derrick Rose to use his penetrating ability to draw defenders in and open up opportunities for teammates around the perimeter. Unfortunately, Rose doesn't have the vision in his game to find those players once he gets inside. There's an one-track mentality with regard to taking it to the hole.
Rose's erratic play often gives way to off-balance passes that can lead to turnovers. New York needs more refinement from the guy they employ to run the offense.It would obviously take some time for a rookie like Monk to establish such a refinement, but it's an opportunity for the Knicks to exercise some patience.
As they continue putting building blocks down for the future, there's no need to rush things. Monk has a nice skill set and his hunger to bask in high-pressure moments is something that simply can't be taught. He wants the ball in his hands and such a talent could find success in the Big Apple. There's certainly enough there for the Knicks to be intrigued.