Charlotte Hornets guard Nic Batum was asked Friday if rookie lottery pick Malik Monk reminded him of any NBA veteran.
Immediately, Batum mentioned his former Portland Trail Blazers teammate C.J. McCollum.
“I got C.J. as a young guy,” Batum said of McCollum, who was the 10th overall pick in 2013 (Monk went 11th to the Hornets in June). “A two-guard who really can score, and kind of crafty, too.”
McCollum didn’t have major impact until his third NBA season, when he averaged 20.8 points and beat out Hornets point guard Kemba Walker for the Most Improved Player award.
Monk, who spent one season at Kentucky before turning pro, averaged 19.8 points last season for the Wildcats. He missed Thursday’s practice, aggravating an ankle sprain that happened in June, but he fully participated Friday.
“With an ankle injury, you know it’s going to be sore when you come back,” Monk said. “I’m trying not to pound-pound-pound (the joint) in the beginning. I just have to watch it.”
What’s the biggest thing Monk has learned about the difference between college and NBA basketball?
“Every possession matters – a lot,” Monk said of the NBA level. “You can’t take a play off.”
The Hornets play their first preseason exhibition Monday in Boston against the Celtics (NBA TV).
“I hope my ankle isn’t bothering me. I want to feel good” for that debut, Monk said.