Now in his third season, Malik Monk still hasn’t made good on the potential which prompted the Charlotte Hornets to select him No. 11 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. What he has done, though, is make some truly incredible plays thanks to his elite athleticism. Early on Saturday evening, he added to his highlight reel with an early candidate for dunk of the season.
A few minutes into the second quarter of their matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Hornets used some good team defense to swallow up Jrue Holiday on his drive through the lane. After a few seconds of scrambling for the loose ball, P.J. Washington came up with it and tossed an outlet ahead of Devonte’ Graham.
As soon as Graham corralled the ball, Monk took off from the halfcourt line, curving his route like a wide receiver running a post pattern to bring him right to the rim. Right before he got to the 3-point line, Graham, lofted the ball up to Monk, who took off from just inside the paint and elevated way above the rim. Catching the ball with one hand, Monk threw it down in one motion for the ridiculous alley-oop.
Monk is no stranger to big dunks — just check out this mixtape of every single one of his slams from last season — but this is one of the best we’ve ever seen from him. The ability to soar like that is something you just can’t teach, but what really made this slam was Monk’s sense of timing and imagination. He knew exactly what he wanted to do well before it happened.
Just watch him put his head down, sketch out his route to the rim and start measuring his steps so he took off from the right spot. The pass from Graham was perfect, but he wouldn’t have even had one to throw if Monk didn’t put himself in position by doing his work early.
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