You could argue that everyone would look forward to the opportunity of playing next to a multi-time All-Star, but Malik Monk has a unique connection in this situation.
Monk, a former Kentucky one-and-done shooting guard, was recently picked up by the Los Angeles Lakers on a one-year deal that is reportedly worth the veteran minimum. His first four seasons in the NBA–all spent with the Charlotte Hornets–didn’t go as planned for the one-time No. 11 overall pick, but he found a new home in L.A. with a franchise aiming for its second NBA title in three years.
Moving on from the Hornets to the Lakers could end up being the best move for Monk’s career, as he’s only 23 years old and coming off his most efficient shooting season as a professional. L.A. is loaded with veteran talent up top and not much youth to help counter that, which is where Monk comes in. While he might not earn starter minutes from the jump, he’ll have plenty of chances to prove himself as a rotational player who is worth a long-term deal next offseason.
Part of what makes this such an ideal fit for Monk is who he’ll be playing next to. Obviously, LeBron James makes everyone around him better, and Russell Westbrook attracts a ton of attention with a full head of steam, but Monk is particularly excited to play next to a fellow Kentucky Wildcat: Anthony Davis.
“Everything,” Monk said about what Anthony Davis brings to the table. “He’s a big man who can play the guard position and he can guard 1-5 as well. So if LeBron isn’t the biggest part, then AD is probably the key to this. Or I wouldn’t say the key, we’re all keys, but AD is one of the biggest parts of this team, because what can he not do? I’m just looking forward to it, I’m super, super excited.”
After years of playing with subpar centers and bigs in Charlotte, Malik Monk sounds excited for the chance to team up with his fellow former Kentucky Wildcat, Anthony Davis https://t.co/RiPrhHBgwe
— Silver Screen and Roll (@LakersSBN) August 12, 2021
Even though Monk (2016-17) and Davis (2011-12) didn’t attend Kentucky at the same time, the two are familiar with each other due to the Big Blue connection (or La Familia, as John Calipari puts it).
“Everybody from Kentucky knows everybody,” Monk added. “At least, they try to come back when I was in school to play with us or talk to us. We all talked before.”
That first Monk to Davis alley-oop highlight will get played over and over again on this here website. If you’d like to hear everything Monk had to say during his inaugural press conference with the Lakers, you can check that out below.