One thing I truly enjoy is talking Hornets Basketball with true, die-hard fans. Last night was no exception. Patrick Connor, one such fan who follows me on Twitter sent me a message and asked me if I had time to talk Hornets Basketball. It was pushing my bedtime, but there was no way I could turn it down. We discussed everything from the way we have been losing, to trade scenarios. One that we both thought could be fun was to move Batum, Frank, and Monk to Orlando for Biz, Augustin, and Gordon.
As I sat there looking at what I had typed, our discussion turned towards Monk. As Patrick talked to me about other trade scenarios, I started thinking back to the olden days of the Buzz in Charlotte and former players. I started thinking about players that made a big impact on the team. Then I thought about Dwight Howard talking about wanting to see Malik Monk in the dunk contest. As we all have seen, the current Hornets really want Malik to be a point guard. Listed at 6’4” Monk is an inch taller than Baron Davis was, but both of them have explosive leaping ability. I told Patrick that he had inspired me to write an article to compare the guys, and here we are.
Baron Davis was drafted on to the Hornets with the #3 pick. The entire plan was for him to be the point guard for us. He had always been a point guard, so this was not out of reason for him and it made sense. Baron sported the #1 that was worn by Muggsy Bogues before him. Baron was amazing to watch. One thing that may be forgotten, however, was his stats in his rookie season. Davis played all 82 games but started none. He averaged 18.6 minutes per game, his field goal percentage was 42%, 3-pt field goal percentage was 22.5%, free throw percentage was 63.4% and he averaged 5.9 points per game. He was also dishing 3.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers per game. Again, keep in mind that Baron Davis entered the league at 20 years old and was playing point guard in college.
So let’s flip the coin and look at Malik Monk. A 6’4” rookie shooting guard out of Kentucky who last played point guard in high school. High school isn’t that far away for him. It was literally 2 years ago. If the Hornets want him to play point guard, it isn’t like he has to try and remember what that was. He only has to practice at it. He has to learn decision making skills that a point guard has to make. It involves learning how to manage the court and the other 4 guys that are on that court. He’s 19 and he has plenty of time to hone those skills. Are you wondering about his stats so far in his rookie season? He’s played in 34 games so far. He’s averaging 13.4 minutes per game. Those minutes came from so many injuries at the beginning of the year that he was forced to play because he had to. Was he NBA –ready? Maybe he was or maybe he wasn’t. All I know is that the rest of these stats are interesting:
FG % = 34.3
3-pt % = 33.9
FT % = 70.6
PPG = 5.5
Not bad, right? He’s close to Baron’s numbers with fewer minutes per game. He is a better 3-point shooter than Davis was in his rookie season. While listed as a shooting guard, Monk has 1.4 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 0.6 turnovers per game.
Now Malik, there’s no pressure on you to perform right out the gate. Learn the NBA-style of gameplay the right way. It was even said that Steph Curry, at 6’3”, would never become an elite point guard in the league. He’s now one of the best in the league at point guard. He is a career 43.6% from the 3-point line, 47.6% field goal shooting, and averages 23.7 points per game. Like I said, no pressure for you Malik.
If you’re wondering how Baron Davis’s second season went:
- Started all 82 games
- Averaged 13.8 points per game
- Shot 42.7% field goal percentage
- Shot 31% from the 3-point line
- Shot 67.7% from the free throw line
- Averaged 5 rebounds per game
- Averaged 7.3 assists
- Averaged 2.1 steals
- Averaged 0.4 blocks
- Averaged 2.8 turnovers
It took Baron Davis 3 seasons before he was at his first all-star game.
You got time Malik and you got the talent. Be patient, learn as much as you can, and let your game come to you. By the way, be patient. The best thing you can be right now is a sponge that can absorb up every detail you can about the NBA and the positions you can play. Even if you take notes at the games like a coach would do, do it. Ask MKG what he did when he was out with his shoulder injury. You can learn a lot when you watch the game. As for your strength and experience…the sky is the limit!
Let’s Go Hornets