After finally breaking out in Charlotte last season, former lottery pick Malik Monk has been a contributor off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021-22. However, his effort during the Lakers’ win over the Miami Heat on November 10 was some next-level stuff.
In 34 minutes of play, Monk dropped a season-high 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Along the way, he made four three-point baskets and added six rebounds, three assists and a block.
His big night was made all the more impressive by the fact that he was going blow-for-blow with the Heat’s Tyler Herro, arguably the best bench player in the league this season. If you ask Monk, though, he wasn’t all that concerned with what Herro was doing.
He was just looking to obliterate the competition.
“I wasn’t matching man, I was just playing basketball. But he just happened to be on me. But yeah, he’s a great player, he always knocks the tough shots down,” Monk said in the wake of the performance. “But I’m trying to kill everybody in front of me, so…”
‘Microwave’ Monk Is More Than Capable of Running Point
Given their tough opponent and the sheer number of players that were out, Monk’s explosion could not have come at a better time for the Lakers. With Rajon Rondo nursing a hamstring strain, he was called upon to initiate the offense much more than he otherwise would have and it worked out pretty well for LA.
Clearly, though, Monk had the mindset and the experience necessary to rise to the occasion.
“Just to attack,” he said of his mentality as the second unit’s de facto playmaker. “I had this role in Charlotte a couple times last year, the year before that when a lot of guys get hurt and I had to come in and play big minutes and facilitate, do things I don’t normally do.”
For their part, Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis likened him to one of the league’s all-time great super-subs and backcourt bucket-getters. Namely, Vinnie “Microwave” Johnson of the Bad-Boy Detroit Pistons.
“We’ve said it, Bron’s said it before, I’ve said it in his postgame interview, we call him ‘Microwave,’” Davis said. “An instant scorer, and we still don’t know how we got him for what we got him for. He can play, he’s a hell of a player. Shot a lot of big shots, made a lot of big shots and this is going to continue to build his confidence in what we do.”
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Monk on Sharing the Court With So Many All-Time Greats
Although Monk says that running the point is well within his wheelhouse, he has definitely been forced to make some big-time adjustments with the Lake Show. Chief among them: playing with so many of the league’s best-ever players.
That one threw him for a bit of a loop.
“I am always comfortable playing basketball, but it is kinda hard, I never played with this many greats,” he said. “So you’ve got to pick your spots and figure out when the game is going to come to you. But they’re greats, so they are always going to help me in every situation.”