Why Malik Monk failed in Charlotte
Malik Monk joined a mediocre Charlotte team featuring Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, and a mishmash of role players who never quite fit alongside the Walker-Howard duo. Monk played less than 15 minutes per game, averaging only six points per game while shooting less than 40 percent from the field.
After realizing the team had reached its ceiling, Charlotte decided to rebuild after Monk’s rookie season. They moved on from Howard and replaced veteran coach Steve Clifford with San Antonio Spurs assistant coach James Borrego.
Monk was never envisioned as a key piece in that rebuild. He did not average more than 24 minutes per game in any of his seasons in Charlotte.
His rock bottom moment came during that second season. While he was on the bench in the game’s closing moments, he got a technical foul for running on the court. Charlotte owner Michael Jordan slapped him shortly afterward.
After that happened, it was a wrap on his future in Charlotte. The narrative on Monk was that he had all the talent in the world but never could put it together.
It also did not help that he was suspended indefinitely in February 2020 for violating the NBA’s drug policy. During his suspension, the NBA suspended their season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was quietly reinstated while the season was still suspended. Charlotte was not included in the teams that went down to the bubble to finish out the season. While his season ended prematurely, he finally got some consistent playing time coming off the bench.
He showed even more potential in his fourth season in Charlotte. Rookie guard LaMelo Ball had given the franchise new life with his energy and enthusiasm. One game, Monk came off the bench to score a career-high 36 points against the Miami Heat.
Monk had this in him all along! Charlotte never used him correctly! Ball and Monk should have been the most electrifying backcourt in the NBA.
"“It’s just great to have them back on the floor,” Borrego said. “There’s a lot of excitement, energy. Both guys bring us some high level playmaking, shotmaking, creation for us."
That obviously never happened. Charlotte inexplicably let Monk walk in unrestricted free agency this offseason. Charlotte drafted Connecticut guard James Bounknight to replace Monk as the team’s shooting guard of the future.
Little did he know that he was on the radar of the Lakers and LeBron James. He was about to get a second chance in the NBA.
Monk knew this might be his last opportunity to stay in the NBA. He was going to take full advantage of the spotlight.