4 Kings Players who must step up after Malik Monk injury 

Dallas Mavericks v Sacramento Kings
Dallas Mavericks v Sacramento Kings / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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It seems that the Sacramento Kings are only getting bad news lately. Just briefly after it was announced that Kevin Huerter would have to undergo season-ending surgery on his shoulder, Malik Monk went down after playing barely one minute against the Mavericks. 

The Kings’ sixth man collided with Mavericks’ star Luca Doncic, hit his knee, and left the game limping. Right now, he is expected to miss four to six weeks with an MCL sprain, the same injury that has been keeping Trey Lyles out since early March. 

A fourth injury to another rotational player is a huge blow for the Kings amid the last stretch of the playoff race. Malik Monk is incredibly important to everything the Kings do. He is unquestionably the team’s third-best player.

Now, Sacramento cannot rely on him to save them down the stretch. Instead, his teammates will have to hold down the fort in his absence. So, let’s look at four players who need to step up in the wake of his injury if the Kings want any chance of surviving the rest of the regular season and making it to the playoffs.

4. Keon Ellis 

Keon Ellis’ 2023-24 season has been a tumultuous one. Over the stretch of less than 82 games, he went from being on a two-way contract and sitting at the end of the bench to signing a real NBA deal and earning playing time every night. 

And yet, this will be the biggest stretch of Ellis’ young NBA career. With the Kings’ starting shooting guard and main guard off the bench out, he will have a huge chance to show what he is really made of. 

So far, he has been solid filling in for Huerter in the starting lineup. His defense has been exceptional for such a young player with so little experience. Ellis battles on every possession, navigates screens incredibly well, and gets his hands into almost every passing lane. Offensively, he has done well knocking down open shots. 

Filling in for Huerter was one thing. All the Kings needed from him in the starting lineup was his defensive contributions and some threes. He could be a defensive playmaker before anything else, and he seemed to thrive in that role. 

With Monk out as well, that changes. To survive this stretch without one of their best playmakers and scorers, the Kings need Ellis to be a big presence offensively. His defense does some of that. Every steal or block can lead to a fastbreak opportunity and some easy points. 

Ellis is also shooting almost 40% from three for the season, which has been valuable. Now, he will have to do a little more. He will have to step up his playmaking and be aggressive offensively. Over the last five games, Ellis scored in double-figures three times. The Kings will need more of that from him with so many key players sidelined.