Malik Monk just a shooter? Not so fast he says after workout for Sixers

Malik Monk just a shooter? Not so fast he says after workout for Sixers

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)

Josh Hart drafted in 1st round, goes to Lakers; undrafted Kris Jenkins reportedly joins Wizards

Josh Hart drafted in 1st round, goes to Lakers; undrafted Kris Jenkins reportedly joins Wizards

Josh Hart heard his name called, while Villanova teammate Kris Jenkins did not.

Hart snuck into the first round of Thursday night's NBA draft, going 30th overall to the Utah Jazz. However, the Wildcat is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers, via a trade.

While Jenkins went undrafted, it looks like he'll have a shot with an NBA team. Jenkins will join the Washington Wizards this offseason to compete for a roster spot, according to a report by NBA.com's David Aldridge.

After winning the national title as a junior with Villanova, Hart collected plenty of accolades in a standout senior season. The 6-foot-5 wing was named a consensus first-team All-American, Big East Player of the Year and took home the Julius Erving award as the top small forward in the country.

For the 32-4 Wildcats, Hart, a Silver Spring, Maryland native, averaged 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game, while shooting 40.4 percent from three-point range.

"I'm my biggest critic," he said last week after a pre-draft workout for the Sixers. "I drive myself as much as I can. I demand perfection from myself."

As Hart travels west, Jenkins, on the other hand, will head home for his NBA opportunity. The 6-foot-6 forward, beloved for his buzzer-beating three-pointer to win Villanova its 2016 national championship, is from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. He worked out for the Wizards in early June. He also worked out for the Sixers on Tuesday.

"It's a blessing," he said after his session with the Wizards, via the Washington Post. "You always root for the hometown team, you always want them to do well. Honestly it's humbling to be in this position, to grow up in this area, to have some games here and play college ball here and then come back and work out for the Wizards."

After flirting with the NBA draft process following their title-winning season, both Hart and Jenkins decided to return to school for their senior campaigns.

They both took to Twitter on Thursday night following the draft — Hart in excitement, Jenkins more in a humorous manner.

Sixers 'dug very deep' into Markelle Fultz's perceived weaknesses

Sixers 'dug very deep' into Markelle Fultz's perceived weaknesses

CAMDEN, N.J. — You don't have to do much research on Markelle Fultz to find his perceived shortcomings.

Washington finished 9-22 his only season there. Draft experts also questioned his effort, especially on the defensive end of the floor.

None of that concerned the Sixers when they made him the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft Thursday night (see story).

"One of the weaknesses was, 'Does he bring it every night defensively? Did he have that killer instinct?'" Sixers head coach Brett Brown said following the pick. "I think if you take a high character person and you take an athlete, you have the foundation to coach him to be an elite defender."

There isn't much question about Fultz's offensive game. The 19-year-old guard averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game in his only season with the Huskies. He also shot an impressive 41.3 percent from three-point range.

His skill set as a shooter and scorer seems to complement the skills of franchise centerpieces Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. With his selection, president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo is hoping the Sixers can start to build a winning culture.

But does Fultz's nine-win season at Washington concern him at all?

"You look at every aspect of evaluating a prospect," Colangelo said. "We've dug very deep on this and we feel that regardless of whatever the performance of the University of Washington Huskies was last year, it's not relevant to who Markelle represents, what he represents as a player, and how he is going to fit in and help us turn this program around."

Fultz took an interesting path to being the No. 1 pick. He didn't make the varsity team at famed DeMatha High School in Maryland as a sophomore (see story). A growth spurt helped bring more attention to his game.

He chose Washington because of the relationship he had developed with its coaching staff. He also thought he'd have the opportunity to play with sophomores Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray. Instead, both players were surprise one-and-dones and Fultz was forced to carry the team on his shoulders.

"He wasn't always considered the best prospect, but he emerged and earned the right to be the best prospect," Colangelo said. "You're talking about a young man who goes to the University of Washington, didn't have great team success. Unfortunately, part of that may be personnel driven, part of that may be circumstantial.

"To do what he did at the level of the Pac-12 and to be able to average 23 points a game, six rebounds and six assists. You're talking, again, about great performance on the floor, a player that does so many different things and we believe someone that's going to help make his teammates better. "

Colangelo mentioned that Fultz "has the tools" to become an excellent defender. Fultz stands at 6-foot-4 with an impressive 6-foot-10 span. He also has plenty of athleticism and strength to compete defensively against NBA ones and twos.

Brown acknowledged that defense could be the biggest hole in Fultz's game, but feels like he could get the most out of Fultz on the defensive end.

"I think that down deep he understands the knock against him and I believe that when we get him with our program, he understands how we see the world here," Brown said. "It's gonna be an evolution, no doubt. But it's a willing defensive player and it's a willing athlete, a gifted athlete under a roof of a quality person. I think having those types of qualities lets you have a far better chance to mold him into the type of defensive player we need here."