4 free agent guards the Houston Rockets need to target

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 17: Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles the ball down court during the third quarter of an NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Smoothie King Center on February 17, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 17: Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles the ball down court during the third quarter of an NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Smoothie King Center on February 17, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
Malik Monk #1 of the Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Houston Rockets guard to target #3: Malik Monk

The Rockets need to take some risks and betting on Malik Monk is a gamble worth making. Monk’s first three seasons in the league were a disappointment for a player selected in the lottery.

Monk, on draft day, was advertised as a 3-point marksman but only shot 32.2-percent on 4.1 attempts a game over his first 191 games. This year, he has finally made good on the promise he showed in college with a 40.1-percent mark on five attempts a game from behind the arc.

While Monk’s 3-point breakout appears to be sudden, it has actually been a long time coming. Monk has always shot well from the free-throw line, which is the best indicator of future 3-point success, and his effective field goal percentage has improved each season in the league.

Monk has also improved his efficiency on shots from 16 feet to the 3-point line each and every season. While you don’t want players taking a ton of long twos, the ability to hit them indicates that they’re likely to be a minor adjustment away from nailing their threes.

Coming off his rookie deal and only 23-years-old the Hornets have the right to match any offer made to Monk, but the question is how motivated will they be to keep him? The Hornets have $47.8 million committed to Gordan Hayward and Terry Rozier next season, LaMelo Ball, who is younger and still cheap, and Devonte’ Graham is also an impending free agent.

Monk could find himself the odd man out this offseason, not because he’s a scrub, but because the Hornets have enviable guard depth. The Rockets ponying up a large contract for Monk would be a mistake but if he can be had for under $15 million a season then it remains a bet they should take.

With John Wall and Eric Gordon’s deals coming off the books in a few seasons, a four-year deal for Monk, even at a large number, won’t hurt the franchise’s long-term cap situation. Monk is a risk, but so was Christian Wood, when your team stinks you can’t always play it safe.

Next: #2

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