The general public has all but exhausted the memes and jokes poking fun at the Los Angeles Lakers‘ aging roster. Indeed, the additions of veterans like Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, and DeAndre Jordan seemed to dominate the headlines throughout the offseason. However, Howard and Anthony Davis are incredibly excited about Lakers newcomer Malik Monk.
Monk played a starring role during Sunday’s preseason opener, leading all Lakers scorers with 15 points. He earned ample praise from The Brow after the game, just one day after Howard elaborated on his talent and ability to make a significant impact for the Purple and Gold.
Anthony Davis said he “can’t believe” the Lakers signed Malik Monk for such a bargain price
Malik Monk was coming off the finest season of his career heading into free agency this summer. He ultimately signed with the Lakers for a pittance.
Monk inked a one-year deal worth just under $1.8 million. That’s not much for the No. 11 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, especially when considering his rookie deal paid him over $3.9 million on average.
The Lakers, particularly after taking on Westbrook’s contract, could not afford to spend much in free agency. They were fortunate that Monk came for pennies on the dollar. Anthony Davis certainly can’t believe another team didn’t offer the former Kentucky star more money. The Brow spoke highly of Monk after Sunday’s preseason opener, also offering his surprise at Monk bing on LA’s roster.
“We’re still surprised we got him, to be honest,” Davis said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
Surprised, maybe, but far from disappointed. The Lakers are growing more and more excited about Monk’s potential in the rotation, which is something Dwight Howard spoke on over the weekend.
Dwight Howard called Monk “The Microwave” and expressed excitement at being reunited with his former teammate
Malik Monk and Anthony Davis might share the same alma mater, but Dwight Howard has actually played with Monk before.
Howard was with the Charlotte Hornets for Monk’s rookie season. He said Saturday that the former Wildcat’s talent was always evident and that he just needed the right opportunity to showcase his gifts. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year explained this Lakers group appreciates Monk’s abilities.
“We call him ‘The Microwave,'” Howard said, via Harrison Faigen of SB Nation, “because once he hits one shot, it’s over with. He’s already heating up. So we’re going to make sure we keep his confidence flowing, and he continues to get better. I love what he brings to the game for this team, and I’m happy he’s here.”
Monk’s arrival in LA wasn’t met with nearly as much enthusiasm as Westbrook, Anthony, Howard, or Rondo. Yet, the 23-year-old is every bit as important to the team’s success as the veteran core.
Monk’s skill set is ideal for the Lakers
The Lakers ranked 24th in three-point attempts and 21st in three-point percentage last season. They desperately needed to bolster the roster with shooting this summer, as well as bench players capable of getting points in bunches. Monk satisfies both needs.
Monk shot a career-high 40.1% from beyond the arc on 5.0 attempts per contest during the 2020-21 season. His scoring average (11.7 points) equated to 20.1 points per 36 minutes. Both he and Carmelo give LA the scoring punch it needs in the second unit. As Howard suggested, Monk’s reputation as a rhythm player could be huge when the Lakers need buckets or have to spell Davis or LeBron James for some minutes.
Ultimately, LA’s success will rely on LBJ and AD both being healthy and productive, as well as Westbrook’s ability to get acclimated playing with those two and Rondo’s capacity as a playmaker.
Still, Monk has a role to play as the Lakers try to get back on top. Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard sound excited about how he might fill that role.