Malik Monk has had a very underwhelming rookie season. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell garnered the acclaim that Monk was supposed to be a focus of. Both are rookie combo guards with an extensive offensive repertoire and explosive leaping ability. Only Mitchell has made a tangible impact this season. Monk shot a paltry 33 percent from the field and doesn’t even have volume and a large burden of the offense on his shoulder to blame, averaging just 5.7 points and 1.2 assists per game.
He’s not a bust though. Witnessing athletic feats such as the one he pulled off in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls inspires confidence in his raw talent. Late in the fourth, Monk caught a cross-court pass in the left corner, drove along the baseline past his off-balance defender and flew towards the rim. However, midway to the basket, David Nwaba swung at the exposed ball.
Monk countered by simply tucking it until he’d glided out of Nwaba’s reach, pulled it back out, extended and flushed it. In all, Monk appeared to defy gravity during his transcontinental flight to the rim while Nwaba lifted off, then plummeted from Monk’s altitude.
It’s as impressive of a dunk as one can execute without a defender there to posterize. In all, Monk scored a season-high 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting, his first time over 20 since Nov. 7 against the New York Knicks. In his last five games, Monk has picked up the slack, averaging 14.4 points in his his last five games. The objective for his sophomore season is to these flashes into a recurring effort.
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