Malik Monk doesn’t consider himself a shooting guard. He called himself a combo guard who can play well with or without that ball. He also said he has “amazing” passing ability and believes he’s a good fit for the triangle offense.
Monk worked out for the Knicks earlier this week, and the triangle offense was emphasized. He also had dinner with Knicks president Phil Jackson and other team officials. Monk could be among the guards the Knicks consider with the eighth pick in next week’s draft, if he’s still available.
“A lot of movement,” Monk said about the triangle. “It’s movement off the ball. I move off the ball great. I think it’s great for me.”
Monk was speaking to reporters Thursday after he worked out for the Philadelphia 76ers. They have the No. 3 pick, which is considered high for Monk. He’s projected to go in the lower half of the top 10.
“I think I can go one, two, three,” Monk said. “I think I can but I’m probably not.”
The Kentucky guard has worked out for four teams: the Knicks, Sixers, Suns, and Magic. Phoenix has the No. 4 pick and Orlando No. 6.
“I think I fit great everywhere I worked out at,” Monk said. “That’s why I picked the workouts.”
The Knicks are at the mercy of the teams before them, but some guards they’re targeting are expected to be available when they select, particularly Monk, North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith and France’s Frank Ntilikina.
The Knicks attended Smith’s pro workout Thursday. Ntilikina is playing in the French League finals so he hasn’t come over yet. But the Knicks have scouted him in France.
When Monk visited with the Knicks, he said it was “crazy” having Jackson evaluating him since he’s has coached some all-time great players.
“It was good,” he said. “Phil was there. That’s always big when he’s there. But it was good for me.
“I went to dinner the night before. He talked to me a little bit. He really didn’t say that much though. It was crazy just seeing them there watching me because I’ve seen him with Kobe and Jordan, great players like that. I’m just thankful to be in that situation.”
When asked about the triangle, Monk said, “That’s all they were doing and focusing on. See who can run off the triangle and who can play behind it.”
Jackson didn’t have a prototypical point guard running the triangle when he coached the Bulls or Lakers. That has the pundits projecting that Monk or Ntilikina could be the Knicks’ choices if available.
Monk was a second-team All-American after averaging 19.8 points for Kentucky. He scored a season-high 47 points on eventual–champion North Carolina during the regular season.
Some question whether Monk’s game will translate to the NBA right away. He’s skinny — he’s listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. But he believes he has more talents than just putting the ball in the basket.
“Everything,” he said when asked what he does well. “Shooting. Coming off ball screens, reading the screens, fading, curling, anything like that I think I’m good at.
“I’m comfortable with or without (the ball). I think I can do whatever just as good.”
When asked about his passing, Monk said, “Amazing. Not that many people have seen my passing abilities. I think they’re pretty good. I can get people involved just like people can get me involved.”