The New York Knicks brass checked out Malik Monk while Rick Pitino praised his draft prospect and Earl Monroe talked about Melo.It’s not just New York Knicks fans who are interested in Kentucky combo guard Malik Monk. Apparently the men in charge like him too.
According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills were in attendance to watch Monk play at his agency’s pro workout day in New York.
Some NBA scouts believe that the 19-year-old needs to switch to the point guard spot if he wants to be a starter in the Association. Could he be the next New York point guard?
Monk wasn’t at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, so it’s important for the Knicks to get a look at him.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino took a page out of John Calipari’s book and took some time out to praise one of his draft-eligible players.
Donovan Mitchell played shooting guard for the Cardinals, but according to Pitino point guard is his natural position.
“Point guard is his natural position,’’ Pitino told The Post. “But because of Quentin Snider, who’s been around a while as a veteran, I played [Donovan] at the two-guard spot. I see him strictly as a one.”
Per Berman, the Knicks attempted to interview Mitchell at the draft combine. Due to the league controlling the meeting they weren’t able to talk with him.
New York hopes to work out the 20-year-old before draft day.
Pitino says that Mitchell’s performance in Chicago improved his stock.
“After the combine, we’re hearing he’ll be [a] lower [number] than where we thought because of what he did there in terms of measurements, 40-inch vertical, shot it well,’’ Pitino said. “He led the ACC in steals and showed anticipation skills. If it wasn’t for his shot getting so much better [this season], he’d be mid-to-late, but his shot improved so much he’ll probably sneak into the lottery.’’
Most importantly, Pitino says that Mitchell can run the triangle.
“He’s understands everything about the game — a basketball junkie,’’ Pitino said. “He has a high basketball IQ, a high IQ period.’’
Legendary ex-Knick Earl “The Pearl” Monroe gave his two cents on the current state of the franchise.
Monroe had expectations for this season after the new acquisitions in the backcourt.
“I thought this team was going to be pretty good with Derrick Rose coming in and Courtney Lee, though I’m not sure he’s a starting guard,’’ Monroe told The Post. “But there was no chemistry, not even in the locker room. And Melo, he has done what he was brought here to do.
The Hall of Famer was among the many who was disappointed in Joakim Noah‘s performance.
“I thought Noah would be that guy, but he got hurt, the media got down on him, he wasn’t fitting in,’’ Monroe said. “He could’ve been the voice of the locker room and he doesn’t need the ball, and he’d be all defense and hustle. It wasn’t about him as a low-post presence. It was more shots to go around for everyone. That should’ve been good.’’
Monroe, who played with Phil Jackson for eight full seasons, had some honest criticisms of the Zen Master’s job performance.
“Phil needed to put people around him that do what he doesn’t do. That’s up to management. Melo played up to his strengths, and he played up to his weaknesses. He’s always been that player. You need to augment him with the right other pieces.”
The 72-year-old continued to praise Melo and doesn’t agree with Jackson’s stance that the ten-time All-Star should be traded.
“Without Melo, you need more scoring and maybe you want to start going up and down the floor,’’ Monroe said. “But if they’re doing the triangle, that’s a slower game and they’re going to need more spot shooters. To get rid of Carmelo, what are you getting back for him at this stage? Just draft picks? That’s the future — they’d need help now.’’
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