2. Monk’s playmaking
Monk is mostly making his living in the NBA as a scorer, but since joining the Kings, he has grown a lot as a playmaker. Over 19 games played so far, he is averaging 4.6 assists, setting a new career-high.
This season, the Kings do not really have another true point guard behind Fox. Davion Mitchell and Keon Ellis are his backups on paper and that poses problems at times.
Ellis is on a two-way contract and has little NBA experience at this point. Sometimes, he is just not the player you want to rely on with the ball in his hands. Mitchell has more NBA experience, but he is not having a good season, struggling to score and push the pace.
As a result, the ball finds its way into Monk’s hands a lot when Fox is not on the court. His ability to adapt, to not only focus on scoring but also set up his teammates regularly, has been incredibly valuable for the Kings.
So far this season, Monk dished out five or more assists in 10 games and ranks third on the roster in assists per game behind only Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox.
While he is not a traditional point guard in any way, his ability to set up teammates, especially bigs in the pick-and-roll, takes a lot of weight off of Fox and Sabonis. If one of them is not available, the other doesn’t have to carry the entire playmaking load because Monk can pick up the slack too.
Besides, finding good backup point guards who fit the Kings’ fast-paced style is not always easy. If Monk can continue to dish out assists like he has been so far and maybe get even better, keeping him around could eliminate the need for another backup point guard.
Monk can hold down the fort when Fox needs a breather, so the Kings could funnel all their assets into a wing-stopper or third star instead of trying to get another point guard as well.