Dwight Howard compared Charlotte Hornets’ rookie, Malik Monk, to one of his former Orlando Magic teammates.
According to Nick Carboni of WCNC, “Dwight Howard said tonight that rookie Malik Monk reminds him of Steve Francis.” The eight-time all-star big man added that the Charlotte Hornets‘ first-round pick is “probably a better three-point shooter.” That’s pretty high praise coming from Howard.
During his first couple seasons in the NBA, Dwight played with Francis while with the Orlando Magic. Steve only spent a year and a half with the team before being traded to the New York Knicks during the middle of the 2005-2006 season. Still, Howard got to play more than 100 games with former NBA guard.
Francis played nine seasons in the league where he was named the 1999-2000 Rookie of the Year and a three-time all-star. Just like Malik, Steve was a second-team All-American while in college.
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Francis and Monk, who both stand at 6’3 and just around 200 pounds, are a bit undersized for the shooting guard spot at the NBA level. Steve made his name as a point guard with the Houston Rockets early in his career but played more of a two-guard role later on.
Steve Clifford has been experimenting with Monk at point guard during the preseason which makes the comparison to Francis all the more accurate. It’s unclear if he will continue to play that role but considering that he is undersized, it could be an option.
It would be great for Charlotte and Malik if he could reach the same levels that Francis did. Not only was Steve a three-time all-star but he also averaged over 21 points per game in three separate seasons.
During Monk’s lone season in college at Kentucky, he shot 39.7% from three. Francis was a career 34.1% three-point shooter but the highest mark that he ever reached was 39.6% from deep in the 2000-01 season which was his second year in the pros.
While it’s unclear how well Malik will shoot at the NBA level, it is the strongest part of his game so making about 40% of his shots from beyond the arc is a fairly reasonable expectation.
An anonymous NBA scout compared Monk to Lou Williams while Nicolas Batum equated Malik’s game to that of C.J. McCollum. After seeing the rookie’s scoring ability during this preseason, it’s isn’t crazy to think that he could one day average 20 points per game in the NBA.