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The Big Question: Greg Monroe

With a cloud uncertainty thunder-storming, snowing and hailing on the Detroit Pistons, we wanted our Pistons preview series to capture that. So for each Piston, Patrick Hayes and I will identify and explain what we each see as the biggest question surrounding him entering the season.

DF: Can he play up-tempo?

When I analyzed Greg Monroe after the draft, I saw a pure half-court player. It seemed all his skills were best utilized in a slower tempo. But he got up and down the court well, with or without the ball, during summer league.

If he can play fast, the Pistons might have two excellent pieces in Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey going forward. If he can’t, they might have to choose one.

PH: Will he play?

Last year’s first round pick, Austin Daye, rarely saw the court because his strengths are undoubtedly on offense and his weaknesses are more obvious at the defensive end. This year’s first round pick, Monroe, could be described similarly.

The assumption is Monroe will have to play some simply because the team is thin up front. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case — if he doesn’t show that he’ll battle defensively, it’s conceivable he could lose minutes to the Ben Wallace-Jason Maxiell-Charlie Villanueva group (assuming Charlie V. is more focused defensively this year). I hope it plays out differently, but it’s rare a Pistons rookie earns big minutes his first season.

16 Comments

  • Oct 11, 20105:38 pm
    by koz

    Reply

    This guy can handle the ball both passing and dribbling, plus he’s got a perfect release on the shot, he should be playing with wallace, cv and maxiel, he could score or get those guys some easy looks with his passing ability. I say unleash the young talent on this team and let’s move on from the past, time to stop crying over the spilt milk and time to build a future winner.

  • Oct 11, 20105:55 pm
    by koz

    Reply

    Just to clarify my 1st comment Ben wallace is the past and should not take minutes away from monroe as it slows his potential development. I think they could play well together, monroe could learn alot being on the floor with a ben wallace.

  • Oct 11, 20106:39 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    This truly is the big question. Let’s say Monroe is a complete bust and contributes nothing, then who contributes something? That’s a scary thought. The Pistons can’t expect to win more than 30 games without getting something out of Monroe. The alternatives aren’t good enough, and if Monroe isn’t good enough either it won’t be pretty.

  • Oct 11, 20107:03 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @koz:
    The frontcourt is so thin, I don’t think you have to worry about anyone taking minutes from anyone else. Wallace is going to play 25-35 a game if he’s healthy simply because he’s the Pistons best frontcourt player by a large margin (and maybe their best player overall). That leaves one other starting spot and two backup spots that will all get decent minutes. Jerebko’s injury changes things big time. He would’ve taken up big minutes starting. Now those those three slots will definitely go to some combo of Villanueva, Monroe and Maxiell, with Daye/Summers sliding down to the post situationally. Wilcox I guess could see action, but he needs to have a huge preseason and camp.
    I don’t think we have to worry about Monroe’s development being hindered. He simply has to play quite a bit at this point. We simply have to worry about whether or not he’s going to be productive.

  • Oct 11, 20108:37 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    Monroe is not ready physically for the grind down low. He is not a great rebounder and he is a weak defender. He has some excellent offensive skills and should develop into a fine offensive player as he gains strength and confidence, much like Austin Daye has.

    Right now i like his game in the half court but i think he could play uptempo. A future lineup of Stuck, Daye, JJ, Monroe, and a young rebounding, shotblocking space eating big man would be worth looking at. Plus Monroe wold ease the burden on Stuckey to initiate the offense and make it flow. Monroe has what Stuckey lacks: excellent court sense & vision on the offensive end.

  • Oct 12, 20102:13 pm
    by jk281

    Reply

    These observations are a joke. The first guy says if Monroe, a 7 foot C/F, can’t play up-tempo then he might have to go? Last I checked teams that can play in the halfcourt win in the playoffs. Run and gun teams are the ones that lose. Since when did a 7 footer whose strentgh is playing in the halfcourt become a knock on his game? This is so backasswards I cant even fathom what point your trying to make here. If a 7 footer’s biggest strength was running the floor, but couldn’t play in the half-court, then you’d have a real issue. What your saying is nonsense. Your Center is supposed to play in the halfcourt, otherwise what do you need a 7 footer for? Might as well start Gordon at center if you just want an uptempo player at that position, LOL.

    And if I hear one more knock on monroe’s defense I’m going to get a migraine. The guy was +7 and +8 the last 2 games, and it wasn’t like he was dominating offensively. You dont get those high +/-’s w/o playing defense. And to say he’s a not good on defense, would be completely ignoring his great defensive rebounding ability.

    These are just ignorant or flat-out uninformed opinions.

  • Oct 12, 20103:39 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @jk281:
    Haha. I can always tell a MLiver when I see one. “I’ve never read this site before, but you guys are idiots based on two sentences.”
    First, in response to Dan’s question that you badly mischaracterized, this is the point he was making: one of the Pistons supposed young cornerstones is Stuckey, who has proven to be most effective when playing fast. Another young cornerstone is Monroe, who has proven most effective as a college player in the halfcourt. Observing that the two styles might not compliment each other well is not a “joke.”
    As for my comments on his defense, I find it funny that you are calling my comments “ignorant” and “uninformed” yet you are the one basing your conclusions on Monroe’s defense on two preseason games. Talk about uninformed.
    Monroe was not a great defensive player in college. He is going to struggle, as all big men do, adjusting to the strength and athleticism of NBA bigs. It’s a major stretch to call him a “great” defensive rebounder. He’s an OK defensive rebounder, based on his time at Georgetown.
    I love when new readers find their way here, but if you’re going to engage in dialogue in the comments and criticize, as Jim Calhoun would say, “get some facts, then come back to me.”
    Using +/- data from two preseason games is about the weakest amount of stats you could use for any argument. Give me a break.

  • Oct 12, 20104:05 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    @jk281
    I’m not really sure where Feldman’s obsession with playing up-tempo from, but last I knew tempo didn’t win championships, players won championships. Pheonix is the obvious example, but in the end they just didn’t have enough quality players. I don’t buy that an up-tempo team can’t win, I buy that a team without enough talent can’t win. Something tells me this up-tempo talk is a feeling that Stuckey would be better playing at a faster tempo, and since he’s the PG the team should play to his strengths, if in fact those are his strengths, although I don’t have much evidence to point one way or another. Gordon, CV, and Daye are also all shooters so an up-tempo game might benefit them, but in the end just like the Suns those players just aren’t good enough no matter the tempo.
     
    Monroe has shown some good open court skills. He likes running. You can tell that from watching him. He also likes playing half-court. He can do both. +/- is the one of the more worthless stats out there. Monroe played against d-leaguers the entire 2nd half against Atlanta, where he racked up all his stats. Again he’s only a rookie in his 3rd preseason game, but so far there hasn’t been much evidence that says he’s a great defensive rebounder, or good rebounder in general. 5 rebounds and 5 personal fouls in 26 mpg. So far he’s over-matched by NBA big men. I’d like to see somewhere around 9-10 rebounds per 36, he’s currently at 6.9 rebounds per 36.

  • Oct 12, 20106:59 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    very, very obviously monroe will play. with jerebko out, all our bigs are gonna play. he and CV will take turns trying to foul out of games as fast as humanly possible, but he’s going to get TONS of opportunities thanks to jerebko’s achilles.

  • Oct 12, 20107:46 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Laser:
    These were written pre-Jonas injury, so obviously that changes the point a little. But at the same time, it wouldn’t be a shock to see a veteran like Maxiell or Wilcox get more opportunities than Monroe, at least initially. In his short time as coach, Kuester has at the very least proven that he’ll typically go with the vet if he has a choice.

  • Oct 13, 201012:02 am
    by jk281

    Reply

    Here’s a fact Calhoun should be familiar with:

    Monroe led the Big East in rebounding last year.

    You dont lead the toughest conference in college basketball in rebounding without being a great rebounder.

  • Oct 13, 20101:09 am
    by nuetes

    Reply

    according to my figures he was 4th in the conference in rpg. and he played 34 mpg so I would hope he’d post respectable looking stats.

  • Oct 13, 20107:02 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    jk281, if Monroe can’t play up-tempo, that’s not necessarily a problem for him. But it might be a problem for the Pistons if they want to continue to build around Rodney Stuckey. It’s a problem when your two cornerstone players fit drastically different systems.

  • Oct 13, 20108:17 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @jk281:
    Nuetes is correct. He did not lead the conference in rebounding:
    http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/statistics/player/_/stat/rebounds/year/2010/seasontype/2/group/4
    Also, as evidenced by the fact that perimeter players like Wes Johnson, Devin Ebanks and Stanley Robinson were among the top 10 in the conference in rebounding, you can very clearly see that the Big East had very few really good big men last season. Monroe is going to be a really nice player, but he has some things to work out.
    I enjoy how when I told you to find some facts, you actually did go find one. Too bad it was just one that you made up. You’re getting there though. On the right track. It took me all of one minute to look that up. It’s not hard.

  • Oct 13, 20106:27 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    yeah given that this is the pistons we’re talking about, i could easily see monroe sitting on the bench just for the sake of tradition. but seeing what he can do, and given that we only have five big men and one of them is charlie v, we’ll certainly see a lot of monroe. i do think kuester’s probably got the right idea about playing young guys. even if there’s not much else he can do to save this team. i just don’t think he can do much with this roster. but playing daye and monroe is a start. but with big ben pushing 40 and max being the only “sure thing” we’ve got up front, all these guys will play.

  • Oct 13, 20109:45 pm
    by jk281

    Reply

    @PH, not surprised it took you 1 minute since it was a fake link that doesn’t exist, lol. I may have been mistaken on him leading the conference but thats what I heard somewhere, maybe he led Centers in rebounding? idk, its not that important. You dont have to be the best rebounder in the league to be a great rebounder, and what I do know  is he grabbed 10 boards/gm, which means he can rebound.

    And if your going to tell someone else to get their facts straight, you might want to follow those directions yourself, considering yours is on a espn affiliated website, and mine was just a comment. What I’m referring to is your comparison of Daye and Monroe saying that the reason Daye didn’t play much was his defense, when actually the reason behind why he couldn’t play good defense last year was because he was outmatched physically for his position. Thats not at all going to be the case with Monroe this year. Monroe is a legit, NBA ready PF at 6-11, 250lbs. If Monroe is poor defensively it will have nothing to do with why Daye was poor on that end. Your stretching with that comparison, sorry. Keep trying though.

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