Malik Monk Developing Into Key Contributor For Lakers

Malik Monk, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

The Los Angeles Lakers have been searching for players to step up this NBA season beyond their Big 3 of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. They knew they could count on Carmelo Anthony to provide a scoring punch off the bench, but beyond that, where else could they get production from?

When Davis went down with a knee sprain in December, it became an even more pressing question. While he has had some struggles, Davis was still an integral part of the team’s success. A large chunk of production, especially scoring-wise, would be missing.

Emerging from health and safety protocols to answer the bell was Malik Monk. Monk, who signed a veteran’s minimum deal in the offseason despite being only 23-years old and capable of landing more, wanted to learn from veterans and improve his own stock. He is working toward achieving that goal, especially since he returned to the court.

Monk made his return on Christmas Day against the Brooklyn Nets, scoring 20 points with four rebounds, three assists and one block. He has been excellent in his five games since returning, averaging 20 points on an impressive 57.4 percent from the field, 42.4 percent from the 3-point line and perfect 16-for-16 from the foul line.

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Also emerging is budding chemistry between Monk and LeBron James. James normally elevates the performance of his teammates and Monk is no exception.

The duo has produced some gaudy stats this season regardless of who they are joined on the floor with. But, when the Los Angeles Lakers go small and do not have a big man on the floor with them, their production goes through the roof.

Los Angeles has found something in recent games when they go small. James has even gotten some starts at the center position and things have really opened up for the team offensively.

Surrounding James with shooters has always been a recipe for success. When you have a point guard in Westbrook that can rebound as prolifically as he can, the need for a traditional big man dissipates.

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There are still instances that the Los Angeles Lakers will need a traditional big man depending on the opponent, but finding some success with untraditional lineups will certainly help.

The Los Angeles Lakers seem to have unlocked something with the LeBron James and Malik Monk duo, so you can be sure to see plenty more of it going forward, especially when Monk is playing at the level he currently is.