David Thorpe named his most-improved rookie teams, and guess who won his rookie Most Improve Player. Greg Monroe, of course:
This time last year, scouts were mixed on Monroe. They liked his talent, skill and length but had questions surrounding his inconsistent motor. Would he engage as a rebounder? Would he be a paint presence? Would he find ways to be a significant producer consistently?
As Pistons fans now know, the answers to those questions are yes, yes and yes. Monroe is entrenched in the starting lineup, one of just a handful of first-round picks who can say that. He’s a double-double threat every night now after not getting his first until Jan. 4 — a 14-and-11 game against the Lakers in L.A. Since then, he has recorded 17 more and missed a double-double by one rebound or point in four other games.
Monroe has learned to compete harder and for longer stretches, and he’s doing so while fouling less often. In fact, he rarely has had to worry about being in foul trouble, which is gold for a starting rookie center. He has gone from a big guy with questions about his future to the big guy his franchise will build around. That makes Monroe our 2011 MIP.
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