CAMDEN, N.J. — Malik Monk is regarded as the best shooter in the 2017 draft. Don't label him as only that when he enters the NBA.
"I think I can do both, combo, on and off the ball," Monk said Thursday following with his workout for the Sixers.
Monk's offensive dominance spoke for itself during his single season at Kentucky. He averaged 19.8 points (45.0 percent from the field, 39.7 percent from three), 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Monk set a program record for most points scored by a freshman (754) and hit the third-most three-pointers by any Wildcat in a single season (104).
And yet, he's not relying on his scoring when he enters the NBA. Nor were the Sixers focusing solely on that skill set as they eye prospects for the third overall pick. The Sixers will have a need for versatile backcourt players next season with 6-foot-10 Ben Simmons running the point. Simmons watched Monk's workout with Joel Embiid and Robert Covington.
"I think the hope is that you can grow him. At his size, he's got to be a combo," vice president of basketball administration and 87ers general manager Brandon Williams said. "Particularly in today's NBA, you need players that can play multiple positions. So beyond the shooting is how much of shot creation for others does he have in his game."
Monk participated in an individual workout in which he competed against members of the Sixers' coaching staff. During the portion available to the media, Monk often found others in traffic and didn't take his shot off the first pass.
"Not that many people have seen my passing abilities," Monk said. "I think they're pretty good. I get people involved just like people can get me involved."
The Sixers wanted to observe Monk's creativity on the dribble and how he finished at the basket with both hands. Monk said he was born with a broken right collarbone, which forced him to learn the use of his left hand in addition to his right shooting hand.
"Could he do some things in tight spaces?" Williams said. "We wanted to see him challenged by shot blockers, trying to simulate that a little bit. We got a chance to see him use both hands, finishing at the basket. There's at least creativity to try some nice floaters with both hands, and those things guys get better at over time."
A full workout wouldn't be complete without evaluating both ends of the floor.
"This may be the first time that a shooter has done so much defense in a workout, but really important to see a full suite of skills," Williams said.
Monk, who's only 19, said his biggest area of improvement is how much he will need to learn about the NBA. He is ready to take on the challenge of guarding NBA players with his 6-foot-4, 197-pound build.
"People always are going to say what they want," Monk said (more on that here). "Some people said I couldn't play off the ball when I went to Kentucky. I think I did a pretty good job at that. I've just got to adjust and get in the weight room."
Monk already has worked out for the Suns (fourth pick), Magic (sixth) and Knicks (eighth) before coming to Philadelphia on Tuesday. He hasn't worked out for the Celtics (first) or Lakers (second) and does not have any other teams scheduled.
When asked if he believed he could be selected third overall, Monk showed the jovial personality he demonstrated the entire interview.
"I think I can go one, two, three. I think I can, but I'm probably not," he said with a laugh.
Another player who could get the Sixers' attention at No. 3 is Monk's college teammate De'Aaron Fox.
"He's coming Saturday," Monk said. "I talk to him every day. We don't even talk about the workouts. We just talk about the process and how much fun we're having."
The Sixers will work out six more players on Friday in between the two Wildcats (see story).