2. Malik Monk
Domantas Sabonis is an All-Star, and Harrison Barnes is an NBA champion, but Malik Monk is the most important player when it comes to making up for losing Fox. For Kings fans, that statement should be no surprise. We all know how quickly Monk can ignite his offense and take over a game.
He just showed it when he put the team on his back during a tough overtime win against the Lakers. With Fox hurt and Sabonis fouled out, Monk scored 11 points in overtime, almost outscoring the Lakers all by himself. The Kings will need that scoring ability while Fox is out. Especially against the Warriors, they have a tendency to play close games. If that happens tonight, it will probably be on Malik Monk to carry the team in clutch time.
He needs to do more than just score, though. Monk has to lock in defensively and that is not only the case when Fox is out. It could make a huge difference for the Kings’ season if Monk can consistently be more than just a scoring machine.
That also includes playmaking. A team that has Sabonis on the floor will always have a good facilitator, but Fox is taking six assists per game to the bench with him. The Kings’ offense is very reliant on movement, and players like Sasha Vezenkov, for example, rely on others to get them open shots.
So, Monk needs to be able to do that, especially in the second unit. Over the first three games, he is averaging 5.3 assists, which is the third—most on the team and much more than he ever averaged for a season in his career so far. If he can keep that up, it will be crucial to the Kings’ success now and in the future.