Malik Monk

Hornets Notes: Batum, Lamb, Carter-Williams, Rookies

The Hornets should find out soon whether Nicolas Batum will require surgery for a torn ligament in his left elbow, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Batum is projected to be sidelined six to eight weeks with the injury, which he suffered in a preseason game Wednesday. He will meet with a specialist Monday in Dallas to determine whether surgery is the best option.

Batum’s injury has been diagnosed as a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. He wore a wrap on the elbow at Friday’s practice and said he was relieved when X-rays showed there was no fracture. Although Batum described the injury as painful, he promised to return as quickly as possible. “When I put my arms up, I feel something,” he said. “If this were my shooting arm, it would be like a tragedy. It’s not and that’s good.”

There’s more out of Charlotte:

  • Coach Steve Clifford plans to move Jeremy Lamb into the starting lineup during Batum’s absence, Bonnell writes in a separate piece. Lamb has made just a handful of starts during his first five seasons in the NBA, but he has been Charlotte’s top preseason scorer. “He’s worked so hard, and not just for two months — steady work since he’s gotten here,” Clifford said. “The more he’s worked, and the more he sees how his hard work is paying dividends, he’s notched it up even more. You get confidence when you work at a good pace. And now it’s all paying off for him.”
  • Michael Carter-Williams reported no physical problems after his first scrimmage as a Hornet, Bonnell notes in another story. The former Rookie of the Year, who agreed to a one-year, $2.7MM deal this summer, wasn’t medically cleared until Friday because of patella tendon tears that required platelet-rich plasma treatments on both knees. The scrimmage was only half-court, but Carter-Williams found it encouraging. “It’s great to compete out there; it’s what I missed the most,” he said. “My timing is a little bit off. I need to get back to playing at the pace of this team. My knees have been fine.”
  • The injury to Batum means first-round pick Malik Monk and second-rounder Dwayne Bacon may have to contribute sooner than expected, Bonnell writes in another piece. “That rookie stuff goes out the window at this point,” Kemba Walker told them.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Wade, Gortat, Magic

The Hornets turned over their backup point guards behind Kemba Walker this offseason, with Michael Carter-Williams and Julyan Stone replacing Ramon Sessions, Brian Roberts, and Briante Weber. Unfortunately for Charlotte, the injury bug is plaguing the team’s new-look backcourt as training camp gets underway.

As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer details, Carter-Williams, who is recovering from platelet-rich plasma procedures on his knees, has yet to be cleared for contact drills, and Hornets head coach Steve Clifford isn’t sure when that will happen. Stone is also dealing with an injury, though his nagging groin issue isn’t expected to be a major problem.

If the Hornets do need additional point guard depth this preseason, it will be interesting to see if rookie Malik Monk gets some reps at the position. The team wanted to experiment in Summer League with Monk playing point guard, but he was battling an ankle injury of his own at the time.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Although Dwyane Wade hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to the Heat within the next few years, his desire to join a championship contender trumps his desire to reunite with his old team at this point in his career, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
  • The low-post role in the NBA has evolved considerably in recent years, with teams prioritizing bigs who can shoot, but Wizards center Marcin Gortat isn’t too worried about the league’s shifting philosophy. “I’ve got two, three more years in me, [and] I’m gone.” Gortat said with a smile, per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “I’m glad I’m at the end of my career right now. I’m not going to shoot threes; I’m not going to develop threes. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to try to bring back real centers. I’m just going to try to survive. I’m going to play my best. I’m going to try to spend all my six fouls as best as I can, get as many rebounds as I can, get some blocks, get some charges. Hopefully we’re going to win some games, then I’m gone.”
  • The Magic announced their training camp roster on Monday, and one name notably absent was Rodney Purvis‘. A report last month indicated that the former UConn shooting guard had agreed to a deal with Orlando. The Magic are currently carrying 19 players on their roster, leaving one open spot, but it’s not clear whether that reported agreement with Purvis will be finalized.

Hornets Notes: Monk, Lamb, Batum, Howard

The Hornets’ choices for backup point guards were influenced by the drafting of Malik Monk in the first round, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. In a mailbag column, Bonnell states that because Monk is an undersized shooting guard with defensive limitations, the team needed larger point guards to pair with him who are better at stopping opponents. That’s why they signed Michael Carter-Williams and Julyan Stone, both 6’6″, when other options were available.

Another factor was cost, as Charlotte was concerned about staying under the luxury tax threshold of about $119MM and was financially limited after trading for Dwight Howard‘s $23.5MM salary. Carter-Williams agreed to a one-year, $2.7MM deal in July, while Stone accepted a minimum-salary contract in August after negotiating a release from his team in Italy.

Bonnell offers more insight into the Hornets:

  • Monk should be fully recovered from a sprained left ankle that caused him to miss the Orlando Summer League. The 11th overall pick suffered the injury during a draft workout and was sidelined for several weeks, which coach Steve Clifford said affected his conditioning. Monk probably won’t see a lot of playing time early in the season, Bonnell writes, but he should be fully healthy for the team’s October 18 opener.
  • Jeremy Lamb has impressed the coaching staff with his work this offseason, but he’s not a threat to take Nicolas Batum‘s starting job. Lamb has been a valuable reserve during his two seasons in Charlotte, and Bonnell says the team needs Batum’s playmaking skills and overall versatility in the starting lineup.
  • The roles of the big men haven’t been firmly established heading into camp. Howard is expected to start at center with Marvin Williams at power forward, but Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky could both make a push for more playing time. Howard’s reputation as a poor free throw shooter could limit his fourth quarter minutes, just as it did in Atlanta, with Zeller getting more use late in games.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Monk, Collins

A number of developments in Bradley Beal‘s game could help the Wizards two-guard earn his first career All-Star berth, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes. Last year, for instance, the guard managed to stay healthy after missing considerable time the previous two seasons and looked to gain confidence attacking the basket as a result.

In 2017/18, with last year to reflect back on, Beal could ride that confidence to a new level. Another component that contributed to Beal’s success last season was his improved ball handling. If that continues, the swingman will be able to slash more competently and maybe even drive up his free-throw attempts as Wizards teammate John Wall has done.

Beal watched his average jump from 17.4 points per game to 23.1 last year and there’s no reason to believe that he can’t continue to thrive heading forward. Still just 24 years old, Beal represents a major part of the core that Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is so eager to keep together.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The ankle injury that kept Hornets rookie Malik Monk out of summer league is still “significant” and could even limit his availability at the start of the season, Dane Carbaugh of NBC Sports writes. In the article, Carbaugh cites two Steve Clifford quotes that Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reported via Twitter. Monk, who was initially said to be out 2-4 weeks, is still regaining his conditioning and recently struggled with a relatively lightweight optional workout.
  • After ten consecutive playoff appearances, the Hawks have handed the reins of the team over to their young players, Shaun Powell of NBA.com writes. With little established competition on the team’s depth chart, rookie John Collins could find a way to produce in Year 1.
  • The Hornets have every intention of keeping Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the starting lineup, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. The only tweak to Steve Clifford‘s starting five will be the addition of Dwight Howard in place of Cody Zeller.

 

Hornets Notes: Howard, Monk, Zeller

The Hornets added a pair of players who will factor into their core rotation this season and with change comes curiosity. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer recently answered a handful of fan questions in a mailbag article, suggesting that he doesn’t anticipate seeing Malik Monk in the starting lineup barring a significant injury ahead of him.

Monk is an undersized shooting guard who will help shoulder some of the offensive load but his diminutive stature begets defensive shortcomings that may be compounded by the fact that any Monk promotion into the starting lineup would force somebody like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to the bench.

Bonnell also weighs in on another reader’s suggestion that Dwight Howard could be used off the bench. Despite Cody Zeller‘s strong performance at the five, Bonnell says that it’s unlikely Howard would come off the bench. Howard is familiar with being a starter (he’s only come off the bench once in his career) and will earn $23MM this season.

There’s more out of Charlotte:

  • In the same Q&A article, the Bonnell writes that the Hornets can only expect so much improvement in their three-point shooting. While the addition of Monk will help and veterans like Marvin Williams and Nicolas Batum should bounce back slightly, there’s only so much fans can expect when the club’s core features Howard and Kidd-Gilchrist.
  • There’s no inclination that he would sell the franchise any time soon, but Michael Jordan‘s investment in the Charlotte Hornets has been a lucrative one thus far, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. The agreed-upon value of the franchise when Jordan bought out founding owner Robert Johnson was said to be $287MM. These days, given the Clippers‘ $2 billion sale in 2014 and the Rockets‘ sale for $2.2 billion this year, the Hornets ought to be worth at least $1 billion.
  • While it’s been rather easy to overlook Zeller given the fact that players drafted after him – like Giannis Antetokounmpo, C.J. McCollum and Rudy Gobert – have blossomed into stars, the sharp-shooting big man has been one of the game’s most efficient centers, Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype writes. Zeller also provides intangible contributions that make life easier for his teammates.

Southeast Rumors: Haslem, Magette, Hornets

Heat forward Udonis Haslem remains hopeful that Dwyane Wade will return to Miami so that they can finish out their careers together, Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post reports. Haslem, 37, re-signed with the Heat in July on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal. He previously expressed his desire to reunite with Wade and reiterated those feelings to D’Angelo. “We talked about finishing our careers together,” Haslem said. “We really want it to be the case. Plans change. So if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t put any strain on our relationship but it’s still a goal of mine. Hopefully we can end it that way.” That won’t happen unless Wade eventually reaches a buyout agreement with the Bulls. Wade opted in for the upcoming season in June, unwilling to leave $23.8MM on the table even though Chicago is in a rebuild mode after trading away Jimmy Butler.

In other news regarding the Southeast Division:

  • Josh Magette is hopeful he can make some kind of impact with the Hawks even though his two-way contract limits him to a maximum of 45 days with the parent team, he told David Yapokowitz of Basketball Insiders. Magette is the No. 4 point guard on the roster behind Dennis Schroder, Malcolm Delaney and Quinn Cook and will spend the majority of the season with the G-League’s Erie BayHawks. “I’m someone who controls the tempo, makes everyone around them better, makes the right play, plays with a high IQ,” Magette said to Yapkowtiz. “I’m just doing little things.” Magette was the Hawks’ final roster cut last fall and also played with their summer-league team in Las Vegas. He led the G League in assists last season (9.3 APG) as a member of the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
  • The Hornets addressed a major need by drafting shooting guard Malik Monk but took a major gamble by acquiring center Dwight Howard, as Shaun Powell of NBA.com notes in his offseason outlook. Monk’s explosive scoring ability with Kentucky should translate to the NBA level, giving Charlotte another offensive dimension, Powell predicts. But acquiring Howard and his big contract from the Hawks was a head-scratcher, given that big men with limited offensive ability have become dinosaurs, Powell continues. However, Howard can still have a positive impact as a rebounder and rim protector and has little competition for the center spot, Powell adds.

NBA Rookies View Dennis Smith Jr. As ROY Favorite

For the last decade, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann has been surveying several incoming rookies to get their thoughts on their fellow first-year players.  Schuhmann asks the newest NBA players to identify which rookie they expect to have the best career, which was the steal of the 2017 draft, and which is the frontrunner for the 2017/18 Rookie of the Year award, among other questions.

This year, Schuhmann polled 39 rookies, and more than a quarter of those players made Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. their pick for Rookie of the Year favorite. The No. 9 overall pick received 25.7% of the vote, beating out top picks like Lonzo Ball (20%) and Markelle Fultz (17.1%). That may be good news for the Mavs, though as Schuhmann observes, the rookies he has surveyed haven’t accurately predicted the Rookie of the Year winner since 2007/08, when they made Kevin Durant the overwhelming favorite.

Here are a few more items of interest from Schuhmann’s survey:

  • Smith was the landslide winner (43.6%) as the most athletic rookie. But while his fellow rookies believe the Mavericks point guard will have the best first year, Ball and Celtics forward Jayson Tatum received the most votes (18.4% apiece) for which rookie will have the best overall career.
  • Donovan Mitchell (18.9%) was the top choice for biggest steal of the draft, after the Jazz nabbed him at No. 13. Some of the second-round picks that the rookies viewed as steals included Jordan Bell (Warriors; No. 38) and Dwayne Bacon (Hornets; No. 40).
  • Luke Kennard (Pistons) and Malik Monk (Hornets) were widely considered the top two outside shooters in the draft. Among their fellow rookies, Kennard (48.6%) easily topped Monk (13.5%) as the pick for the No. 1 shooter of the 2017 class.
  • Suns forward Josh Jackson (26.3%) was narrowly voted the best rookie defender, while Ball (71.8%) was the overwhelming pick for best rookie playmaker.

Hornets Notes: Howard, Zeller, Monk, Stone

To find a coach who still believes in him, Dwight Howard couldn’t have picked a better place than Charlotte, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The June trade that sent Howard from Atlanta to Charlotte reunited him with head coach Steve Clifford, who served as an assistant with the Magic while Howard was putting together his best seasons. “Cliff’s going to push me, but he’s not going to ever be one of those guys who I would say would break my spirit,” Howard said. “He really believes in me. Throughout all the mess that has happened the last couple of years, this is a great opportunity for me to prove to myself that I know exactly who I am — to just shut people’s mouths.”

The “mess” Howard refers to comes from feeling unwanted in Houston when he opted out last summer, then having a similar experience in Atlanta after signing a three-year, $70.5MM deal. He averaged 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game with the Hawks, but his playing time dwindled in the postseason and he was barely used in the fourth quarter. Clifford expects Howard to be inspired to prove that he still has something left to offer. “From the trade until now, I think he’s very motivated to have a great year, and he badly wants us to win,” the coach said. “The last couple years have been difficult for him. I see him as motivated to work. The success of our team is the thing that keeps coming up in our conversations. He wants to be a part of our team. And that’s his priority.”

There’s more today out of Charlotte:

  • The addition of Howard may give Cody Zeller some minutes at power forward, but Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer doesn’t believe that’s his best position. In response to a question in his mailbag column, Bonnell says Clifford is considering the move, but Zeller isn’t the type of stretch four that most of the league is now using. However, Bonnell believes Zeller can excel as a backup center.
  • First-round pick Malik Monk is unlikely to work his way into the starting lineup as a rookie, Bonnell writes in response to another question. The shooting guard out of Kentucky should give the Hornets a scoring boost, but his porous defense and small size at 6’3″ make it likely that he will remain a reserve all season.
  • The release agreement that Julyan Stone negotiated with his Italian team may only cover one season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Stone had agreed to an extension with Umana Reyer Venezia earlier this year, but requested to be freed from it so he could return to the United States to be closer to his ailing father. The Hornets had hoped to sign Stone to a two-year contract, but that will depend on the terms of his agreement in Italy.

Malik Monk Was Convinced Knicks Would Draft Him

The Knicks were under Phil Jackson‘s reign during this summer’s draft and the team selected Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 overall pick. Jackson has since been ousted, though the current front office is confident in the team’s first round selection, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays.

“I talked to our scouts a lot about Frank before the draft. I went over and watched Frank play prior to the draft, met with Frank’s coaches and learned a lot about who he is as a player and who he is as a person,” said Steve Mills, who has been with the organization since 2013, but has been recently promoted to Team President. “So I’m very comfortable with that draft pick. I would have selected Frank at that point in the draft myself. He’s a guy that fits in everything that we’re talking about right now. He’s a smart basketball player. He focuses defensively and his approach to the game, his work ethic, fit exactly in the direction that we want to take this team.”

New York decided to take the Ntilikina over other notable guards. The front office had internal debates about taking Dennis Smith Jr., Donovan Mitchell or Malik Monk over the French point guard, but ultimately passed on each.

Monk met with the team leading up to the draft and believed he would be the selection at No. 8.

“Me, my agent, everybody in my agency, my family – we all thought we were going to NY,” Monks said (via Bondy’s Twitter feed.

On the day of the draft, Chad Ford of ESPN.com predicted Monk or Ntilikina would be the selection for New York. Monk was nabbed by the Hornets with the No. 11 overall pick.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Crawford, Mack

The Hornets have taken significant steps forward this offseason but one of the big questions heading into the 2017/18 campaign will be whether wings Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nicolas Batum will be able to thrive together.

In a recent mailbag, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tackled the question arguing that the lanky pair help the squad more than hinder them. Bonnell refers to the Hornets’ defensive woes as the major culprit for Charlotte’s disappointing 2016/17 campaign, saying that taking Kidd-Gilchrist out of the picture would only make matters worse.

Bonnell does add, however, that the Hornets would be wise to feature rookie Malik Monk as soon as he’s able to prove that he’s reasonably competent on the defensive end. If he slots in at the two, Batum could then slide up to the three.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks acquired Jamal Crawford in the three-way deal that sent Danilo Gallinari to the Clippers and immediately began pursuing a buyout with the 36-year-old veteran. Exact details of the buyout are not yet known but Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that the guard’s cap hit will be around $11MM in 2017/18.
  • There’s no disputing Shelvin Mack‘s track record of success, he suited up for the 60-win Hawks of 2014/15 and served a valuable role for the 2016/17 Jazz squad that climbed back to relevance. According to John Denton of Orlando’s official website, the former Butler Bulldog thinks that even the Magic can be winners in the immediate future.
  • After a breakout 2013/14 campaign in which he filled in admirably for an injured Kobe Bryant, Jodie Meeks has posted three forgettable, injury-plagued seasons. Now a member of the Wizards, the soon-to-be 30-year-old is ready to reset and start anew. “I came back from my thumb at the end of the season,” he told Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I played okay and finished out the season healthy. This summer I got some rest. Now I’m working out again and I feel fine.
  • After riding the pine for the Wizards in 2016/17, Sheldon Mac and Daniel Ochefu have taken noticeable steps forward, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes.
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