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Greg Monroe could learn from Joakim Noah’s overt tenacity

In one of my favorite features, ESPN’s David Thorpe picks which veterans key rookies should study. For Greg Monroe, he chose Joakim Noah:

There’s no question Monroe has found a better gear to play in during the past two months. But there are more gears to unlock, and no one at any position plays at full tilt as much as Noah does.

Noah is energy personified — he adds to the game even when he’s not producing because of how he impacts his teammates. Monroe, should he learn to play at that level, would be capable of similar things. Even if he just upgrades his energy 10-20 percent, it would make a big impact for someone who already looks like a starter in the NBA.

Step one can be studying how rarely Noah sits quietly on the bench while watching his teammates play, then seeing how he can lift his Pistons teammates up in a similar manner.

I completely agree. Monroe has said he plays hard even though he doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve, and that’s totally true. But as we enter an era where Monroe becoming a leader would boost the Pistons, he could better serve the team if he looked like he was playing as hard as he actually is. His teammates need to see that example, because if they emulate the desire it appears Monroe is showing, they’re going to struggle.

Thorpe also suggests Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward should model parts of his game after former-Piston Arron Afflalo.


  • Mar 22, 20114:38 pm
    by Jason


    Couldn’t agree more.. Noah’s intensity is probably his biggest asset, which says a lot about a guy as talented as he is.. Monroe will likely never be able to mirror that type of aggressiveness, but as you said – even 10-20% increase would make Monroe a hell of a lot better.
    On that note, imagine a Monroe/Noah front court… That would be pretty damn sexy if you ask me..

  • Mar 22, 20114:51 pm
    by Chris


    I dont know.  I agree to a point, but changing the way a guy plays can be counter productive.  A player cant make themselves more emotional.  It’s either in you or its not and its no question Noah has that in him, as did Dennis Rodman.  Joe D didnt, it doesnt mean he wasnt a leader on the team.  Billups was is also the quiet type, but it didnt change his impact on the team.  Detroit needs an energy and I used to think Maxiell was that guy, but its not and neither is Monroe.  Joe D just doesnt draft those types of guys.  All his picks are all even keel no emotion types.  From Tayshaun to Daye to Monroe and Stuckey.  Jerebko might be the closest thing to the “energy guy” we have and we cant wait til he comes back.

    • Mar 23, 20117:17 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Chris, funny that you mention Rodman. When he first came to Detroit, he was shy and quiet. Some guys can grow into it.

  • Mar 22, 20115:24 pm
    by Tom Y.


    Tim Duncan never displayed much emotion. Seems to have done alright though.
    I think players around Monroe notice he’s playing hard and can learn from his example – he doesn’t need to start acting like he’s someone else.

    • Mar 23, 20117:20 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Tom, there’s a difference between his teammates noticing and his teammates feeding off that energy. I’m sure they notice, but a player like Monroe isn’t going to inspire them to play any harder.

      As far as Duncan, he’s probably not as quiet as you think. And when his teammates needed him to get more vocal, he did.

  • Mar 22, 20115:36 pm
    by Scout Taron


    Yeah, I think that’s a bad idea. Just not Monroe’s personality. He can still be a leader without being loud and obnoxious. IMO, his cool demeanor will help him in his career.
    I think that Pau Gasol would be a better person to model his game on. Both are kind of similar, although Monroe isn’t as soft.

    • Mar 23, 20117:21 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Scout, I didn’t see enough of Gasol in Memphis to know whether he’s soft. He’s definitely not now, though.

  • Mar 22, 20115:39 pm
    by Alan


    Monroe can contribute towards the Pistons turnaround effort by taking a page from Noah’s book and focusing on energy.  I applaud Thorpe for making this comparison because Monroe’s drive is his area for biggest improvement.  I assumed Thorpe would choose a more skilled big man like Duncan or C-Webb (post injury) or even Brad Miller for Monroe to study.  I assumed this because these guys are more like what Monroe may grow into over the next few years and not Joakim Noah. 

    After reading Thorpe’s passage, I like the Noah pick better.  The best way to improve is to start with your biggest weakness and that’s energy for Greg Monroe.

    • Mar 23, 20117:22 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Alan, I don’t think his personal energy is lacking. The two DNP-CDs he got at the beginning of the season took care of that. But his energy manifests in a way that his teammates won’t feed off it.

  • Mar 22, 20118:19 pm
    by Black Movies


    Again, TIM DUNCAN is a great example. Perinnial all-star, quiet leader on his team…. bet Popovich and Jackson would take him in a heartbeat…heck, look how effective quiet Jesus Christ was as a leader! :)

    • Mar 23, 20117:25 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Black Movies, Duncan is probably not as quiet as you think. And when his teammates needed him to get more vocal, he did. I think Duncan prefers to be more quiet, as he is now. But the Spurs have vocal leaders in Popovich and Ginobili. The Pistons don’t. They need someone to set an example that way. When the Spurs needed Duncan to fill that role he did. If Monroe wants to be a high-end leader, he must try to do the same thing.

  • Mar 22, 201110:43 pm
    by gmehl1977


    Gee Dan you make this team sound like the Wizard of OZ. So i am guessing CV needs to get some heart, Wilcox some courage and BG a heart. Monroe will be fine and we all kind of tend to forget that he is still a kid.

    • Mar 23, 20117:28 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Gmehl, nah, the Pistons have been like the Wizard of Oz since Danny Manning played for them.

  • Mar 22, 201111:29 pm
    by Andrew


    this is a future all-star. once he gets the right amount of minutes and touches he would be a beast. Getting a little more aggressive and vocal too.

  • Mar 23, 201112:08 am
    by Mike Payne


    No, no, no and no.  Asking Monroe to have Joakim Noah’s energy is like asking Ben Wallace to be more like Rasheed.  Ben was quiet, but effective.  As many others pointed out, Tim Duncan is quiet, but effective.  Who cares how expressive, how energetic Monroe appears on or off the court?  Personally, I think this suggestion by Thorpe is entirely ridiculous, and not worth further study.  Let Greg Monroe be Greg Monroe.  Leadership doesn’t need to be outspoken, and Joakim Noah’s value is not in his personality, but his performance on court.  WTF.
    Greg Monroe doesn’t need to change a damn thing about his personality.  If there is any one thing he needs to work on this summer, it’s man-on-man defense.  That’s it.  Nothing else for now, thanks.

    • Mar 23, 20117:33 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Mike, you don’t think Ben Wallace’s on-court energy is on full display? He yells and flexes all over the court. That fires up his teammates.

      Competitive, high-energy environments feed off the people in them. In this regard, it doesn’t matter how competitive and energetic Monroe is. If he doesn’t outwardly display it, his teammates won’t feed off it.

      Monroe is 20 years old. There’s plenty of time for him to grow into a more assertive personality, and it would help his team if he tried. If he fails, no big deal. Doesn’t make him a bad player, person or leader. But I can’t see an area where realistic improvement wouldn’t help his team more.

  • Mar 23, 20112:16 am
    by gtg


    Read this article in the Freep:
    Pistons’ Greg Monroe focuses on his game, not on fouls
    then ask yourself: So, Monroe should be modeling his leadership skills after those of *Joachim Noah*?
    Maybe Noah should model himself after Monroe.

    • Mar 23, 20117:34 am
      by Dan Feldman


      GTG, ask yourself, when the Pistons got a bunch of technicals, were they better or worse than they are now?

  • Mar 23, 20117:52 am
    by Cliff


    agree to a slight extent… but would rather him learn from c-webb. monroe can easily turn into a left handed c-webb with their fantastic passing and rebounding abilites. all he’s missing is a consistent 15 ft jumper and a few post moves… to be honest I don’t think he’ll ever mold into an emotional player like noah but he might be like rodman as in he might grow into it. after all he’s just a rookie.

  • Mar 23, 20119:44 am
    by Tom Y.


    @ Feldman: that’s some long reading material there…
    The second one actually says that Duncan had been very quiet and stoic for his first 4 seasons, and was changing to some degree. So having read them, I’m not at all convinced that my (and most people’s) perception of duncan as a quiet leader is wrong. If he changed it to some degree in his 5th year after an embarassing playoff loss to the Lakers, that doesn’t mean Monroe should make a change of personality his primary goal for next season.
    Basically, I think Monroe’s personality is just fine, and changing one’s personality is not something a person can just do because it seems like it may be a good thing for his team. And I don’t really buy the idea that if he became more vocal and emotional it would change his teammates’ play.
    What Monroe needs is mostly to keep improving his skills, especially by getting a reliable mid-range jumper and as MP noted down in the comments, improve his defense some more. And I’m sure he’ll do both. For the rest of the team to improve it will take some roster trimming and a different coach.

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