The Law of Attraction is the philosophical theory that I am the author of my own destiny. I can accomplish any goal, conquer any challenge and bring any result into the universe as long as I focus my energies on the outcome I want. Life is a blank canvas of possibility, and me? I’m Pablo Picasso.
I’m not sure that’s true but just in case it is, I am channeling 100 percent of my life force into bringing Malik Monk to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2017 NBA Draft. In fact, it’s not even a question anymore. He will fall to us. We will draft him. I believe it, and therefore it will be so.
Why the religious fervor? I’ve been pouring over mock drafts since the NCAA tournament started, and I’m convinced that Monk is the best players that could (will) fall to the Mavs at the (likely) ninth pick. Seriously, he is so good.
First of all, he’s lethal from three. He shot 40 percent on the season. His long-range prowess was especially evident in a December win against eventual champion North Carolina. Monk drained eight three-pointers and finished the game with 47 points. Check out the highlights below--it was awesome. The dude can shoot.
Simple stats don’t even give you an accurate impression of Monk’s potential because they can’t convey how NBA-ready his shot really is. There are two reasons that great college shooters turn into brick layers in the NBA. One is that the defenders are faster, longer and smarter. College players that have awkward mechanics (*cough Lonzo cough*), don’t elevate, or have slow releases struggle when they face true NBA defenders. They don’t have as much time or space to shoot as they’re used to so they rush their shots, and rushed shots are usually missed shots. I like to call this the Justin Anderson effect.
Similarly, the second reason that college shooters bust is that their shooting was overestimated to begin with. Players are often drafted as sharp shooters based on just one season’s performance and within that small sample there’s another potential distortion lurking. I do not have the hard data to prove this, but if you watch a lot of college basketball, you start to realize that a good chunk of the threes made in an average game are wide open catch-and-shoot looks. Turnovers are rampant and transition opportunities abound. Catastrophic defensive break downs are not uncommon. And ultimately, most college coaches discourage young players from just jacking up threes off the dribble. These factors combine to create players that are comfortable shooting in open catch-and-shoot situations but are lost in any other situation. When they get to the NBA, some develop the ability to shoot in different situations or from different spots on the floor, but many don’t.
Malik Monk does not have either of those two problems. His shot mechanics are orthodox, smooth, and quick, and even though he’s not super long at 6’ 3” he gets great elevation on his jump shot. There are no clear signs that he’ll struggle to get his shot away against NBA defenders.
He’s also comfortable shooting threes in a variety of game scenarios. Catch and shoot? Sure. Coming off screens? Yep. From off the ball movement? Uh huh. Pulling up off the dribble? Yes sir. Monk can even use a jab step or pump fake to create separation and still nail the shot. Not many college shooters have all those tools when they enter the draft, but Monk has been showing them off all season.
And that’s just his three point shooting! Monk is also criminally underrated as an athlete and has shown a great touch around the basket as well. He’s not an instinctive driver, but when a defender over-commits to a closeout, he doesn’t hesitate to get in the paint for a layup or a floater. It’s easy to imagine Monk turning into a solid scorer in the NBA and although I usually hate player comparisons, Monk’s game is so Jamal Crawford-esque I can’t resist. Are there question marks about his defense and ability to make others on the court better? Sure, but his offensive upside makes Monk a chance well worth taking.
In keeping with my strict adherence to the basketball Law of Attraction, the Mavs will be given that chance and they will take it. Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson are a lock for the top three picks, but after that there’s a deep field of interesting players and plenty of room for surprises. Some combination of Jayson Tatum, De’Aaron Fox, Jonathan Isaac, Lauri Markannen, Dennis Smith Jr., and Frank Ntilikina will make up picks four through nine until the Mavs take Monk with their pick. Other teams will pass because there will be “better” players available or because they have different needs. I believe it, therefore it will be so.
This will cement the Mavs’ rotation of the future — the youngest, most athletic, and most exciting lineup since the Title Team or earlier. Imagine inserting Monk into a team with the best floor spacing superstar in NBA history. Imagine what a Curry, Monk, Wes, Barnes and Noel lineup could do. Imagine what they could do in two or three years as they continue to grow.
Soon enough, you won’t have to imagine. I believe it, therefore it will be so.