Malik Monk

Why Kings starting Mitchell vs. Warriors, not Monk, with Fox out

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Malik Monk has been the sixth option for the Kings since joining the team last season.

But even after the injury to star point guard De'Aaron Fox, who will miss Wednesday's game against the Warriors, Kings coach Mike Brown turned to third-year NBA guard Davion Mitchell to start in Fox's place rather than Monk.

The reason is simple if you've watched what Monk provides off the bench for Sacramento, and that's exactly what Brown wants the veteran guard to do with or without Fox.

"[Malik] is such a unique player in my opinion that it's hard to replace him coming off the bench," Brown told reporters after Tuesday's practice. "When you have a guy like that coming off the bench, he gives you so much versatility, offensively especially. Also, it gives you an opportunity to bring him off for a long stretch, sit him for a couple minutes, and then play him at the end if you need to.

"We don't necessarily need him with that starting group. So the versatility and the punch that he gives us off the bench is something that, right now, is hard for us to try to figure out how to replace more so than try to replace somebody else in the starting lineup."

Fox sustained a moderate right ankle sprain in Sacramento's 132-127 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night at Golden 1 Center. The Kings confirmed he would miss Wednesday's game, but his status beyond that will be determined at a later time.

It will be an opportunity for Mitchell, who has focused on making a bigger offensive impact on the court, to showcase his offseason improvements.

But that's not to say Monk's impact is any less important. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

When Fox went down with the injury Sunday, it was Monk who stepped up big in overtime, dropping 11 points in five minutes. Brown and the Kings will continue to rely on that explosiveness off the bench from their sixth man.

"It's big," Brown said. "I thought two nights ago down the stretch, we played him at the point, and I thought he did a fantastic job getting off the ball. "And it's tricky playing that point guard spot, especially when you're as talented as a playmaker as Malik because you got the ball in your hands and right away you want to go make a play, and sometimes you feel like you want to make a play but it might not be there.

"So I thought he did a nice job of mixing in when to go make a play and knowing when to get off it. So if he's at that point guard position at any time, he's got to keep trying to figure that out."

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