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If Greg Monroe and Pistons want respect, apparently they’ll have to take it

In today’s Rookie of the Year announcement, Greg Monroe should’ve received a bronze medal that would’ve have served as a silver lining to a tin Pistons season.

Instead, he finished a distant sixth.

The Pistons, once second only to the Spurs as a model NBA franchise, have become so forgotten, a waning Landry Fields and a one-dimensional Gary Neal finished ahead of Monroe. We can skip the reasonable debate about whether Monroe belonged ahead of John Wall and/or DeMarcus Cousins. I’d have to explain first why Monroe belongs ahead of Fields and Neal, and frankly, that seems like a waste of time. Fields and Neal don’t belong in the conversation.

If I wanted to discuss Monroe’s worthiness, I could tell you no rookie since Chris Webber in 1994 scored more points per game on a higher shooting percentage.

I could tell you, as originally noted by Mike Payne of Detroit Bad Boys, no starting-level rookie big man has ever posted such a lower turnover percentage.

I could tell you no starter-level rookie since Reggie Evans in 2003 has grabbed a higher percentage of available offensive rebounds.

But at this point, none of that really matters. The voters already made their mistake, and nothing will change it. Hopefully, Monroe will make the All-Rookie team, but that would serve only as a consolation prize.

In every logical way, I shouldn’t care about this. Monroe wasn’t going to win the award, anyway. I figured he’d finish third, like he did in the TrueHoop Network awards. I know I should have laughed at the voting and moved on.

But I can’t. Monroe was our pearl in the garbage dump. The Pistons didn’t do much right this year, but Monroe’s play provided hope. Even the most pessimistic articles about the Pistons contained phrases like “besides Greg Monroe.”

Making a miserable season considerably less miserable isn’t and shouldn’t be a criterion for Rookie of the Year voting – and Monroe doesn’t need it to boost his candidacy – but it explains why I can’t let this go. He gave us better than we ever could have expected.

After the NBA released the voting, Monroe tweeted:


MOTIVATION! And no i aint talkn bout the song!

By all accounts, Monroe is a smart guy. I’m sure he knows he deserved to place higher. If he can twist that knowledge into motivation, good for him.

But I’m not convinced today will significantly alter the course of Monroe’s career. If he had finished second or 10th or anywhere between, I doubt it would’ve made a meaningful long-term impact, regardless.

So, like I said, I won’t rehash the Monroe-Wall-Cousins (-Fields-Neal) debate. There’s just no point, as much as I wish there was time to change voters’ minds. But I will show you these three charts about Monroe.

When the season began, Monroe couldn’t finish at the rim. But his field-goal percentage steadily improved.


When the season began, Monroe couldn’t convert from the charity stripe. But his free-throw percentage steadily improved.


When the season began, because of the above factors, Monroe didn’t score much. But his points per 36 minutes steadily improved.


A more impressive showing in the Rookie of the Year voting would’ve vindicated Monroe’s effort and given the Pistons a much-needed reason to celebrate. But good feeling doesn’t come free in the NBA. Monroe and the Pistons have a lot of work ahead to earn respect from a national group of decision makers.

But I’ll bet those charts will show more about Monroe’s future than today’s result will.


  • May 4, 201110:52 pm
    by BIG MARV


    BULLSHIT and I dont care if you edit that… he was one of the best bigs to me in the leauge PERIOD! rookie or vet this guy is the next Tim Duncan, A verteran that they respect so much in the leauge. Wherever Monroe had every right to be pissed You just show them next year that they gonna have to put you in the all-star game next year amoung them weak ass east centers A-Holes!! So the Pistons have a couple of down years and now they showing that our players dont exist?!! man they gotta ride this chip next year and show the NBA that Detroit is back and we are here to stay no more baby back sensitive shit! This guy is everything you want in a NBA Player at a roookie! he is way mature beyond his years than most ignorant veterans and they still piss on him! Show them whats up next year Greg. He sould get the silver alone for being a stand up player through that drama he had to go through. That guy took it like a real man and a real player no other rookie would have handled all of that pressure BUT GREG DID!

  • May 5, 20111:16 am
    by gmehl1977


    I am disappointed for Greg but at the end of the day who cares what the media think. What matters most is what his team mates, coaching staff and his fans think about him. Another thing you have to take into account is how many nationally televised games the pistons had. Not many by memory so it was always going to be hard for Greg to get a good look in anyways.
    I will be the first to admit that i was very disappointed when we couldn’t trade up to get Cousins but Greg has really been a diamond in the rough this year. I just hope he can harness and disappointment he can get from this snub and come back and improve even more. I would really like to see him bulk up kind like what Jonas apparently has.

  • May 5, 20117:32 am
    by ds


    Monroe isn’t a flashy player, and won’t get on a lot of highlight reels – so he’ll have a hard time in any fan voted category. Similar to Tim Duncan, again. That speaks to his integrity, IMO.
    I’m just happy we have him :-)
    What is ‘S….m….h….’?

  • May 5, 20119:06 am
    by RandomGuy313


    @PH damn you and your faster than my replies!!

  • May 5, 20119:10 am
    by RandomGuy313


    Frankly I am tired of the ‘chip on my shoulder’; give me the obsessive compulsive Ray Allen work ethic

  • May 5, 201110:09 am
    by neutes


    Pretty unfortunate. I would have given him 3rd. I just don’t know that I can place him higher than Wall. It’s tough there. Monroe was definitely better than Cousins. Not sure how voters could look at Cousins percentages/turnover rate and consider him better than Monroe. It’s like a vote that went off of the basic averages of points, rebounds, assists and ignored everything else. Monroe wasn’t rewarded for his improvement over the course of the season, and his final season averages don’t reflect how good he was for the entire 2nd half. If voters would have dug deeper into the numbers Monroe should have finished no worse than 3rd.

  • May 5, 201111:50 am
    by Laser


    i have sort of a lot to say about this, so i’ll keep it as brief as i can:
    1) the headline of this post is as obvious as sentences get. back when the pistons were AWESOME and made six straight conference finals, including back-to-back finals appearances and a championship, they had to fight for respect. why should that change now that they collectively don’t deserve a shred of respect? this broader issue is a lot like the fact that the pistons haven’t gotten the benefit of a whistle since clinton was in office. it’s been established. it’s old news. get used to it.
    2) that being the case, nobody (monroe included) should be bothered by this. it’s simple. the pistons had a grand total of ZERO national games, they’re absolutely horrendous, it was a one-man race, monroe is the least flashy impact player in the league, and so on and so forth. after memphis “upset” OKC in game 1, z-bo was talking about how people didn’t know about the team because they don’t get national games. and the grizzlies are GREAT! the pistons are HORRENDOUS and collectively have nothing whatsoever going for them.
    3) a glimpse at the voting distribution tells us all we need to know, if the respect issue didn’t, which it already did. the vote was unanimous. greg monroe was not alive the last time this happened. and on top of that, second place was an absolute landslide. neal was a solid role player on a great team, landry fields was in the early discussion and either got the benefit of the doubt for his post-trade backslide or people just plain stopped paying much attention as the season wore on and the rookies began to blend into the fabric of the league. rookies stand out WAY more in the early going, which would favor someone who came out of the gate firing on all cylinders rather than someone who steadily improved. so nobody took the damn thing seriously, and it’s kind of hard to begrudge that. you just gotta shrug it off. there’s so much to get upset about with this team. one more snub is just a drop in the bucket.
    4) did this voting take place before the playoffs? something tells me neal might have gotten a few votes with that clutch shot to force overtime against the spurs if it didn’t. or maybe it’s just that he was a surprising contributor on a great team. and one-dimensional as he was, he was pretty f*cking good at that dimention. isn’t the bogus excuse everyone talks about for why summers can’t catch a break around here that he doesn’t do one thing very well. neal sure does. still, he shouldn’t have gotten a single vote, because this award should be purely individual. the fact that he got three (THREE??!!?!) second place votes invalidates the entire exercise.
    5) maybe this is a nitpick, but monroe’s play should never have provided “hope” for anyone. hope that the pistons might not be SO hard to watch anymore, maybe. but real hope, like the hope that the team could turn around? not even close. he and his best teammates amount to “not enough” to get excited about or help the team regain respectability. we’re about three greg monroes from genuine “hope.” nobody can take monroe away from the team and the fans as a bright spot, like a lone piece of bright golden corn left undigested in a smelly clump of shit, but he’s well short of the ability to turn this team around. give me a total of four similar players and i’ll have hope for the future.

    • May 5, 201112:15 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      100 percent of this comment was inconsequential to what the actual point is and why it is completely appropriate for people to care about this.

      The bottom line is this: media vote on these awards for a reason. They are paid as their jobs to follow and objectively cover the league better than anyone. It’s their job to know about players who aren’t on national TV. It’s their job to know about players like Monroe who may not jump over cars, but still have big impacts when they are on the court. They got this vote really, really wrong. It is important that they are held accountable.

      Saying, “Welp, no one was gonna beat Griffin anyway,” doesn’t excuse the fact that they messed this up badly and should have some accountability for that.

      • May 5, 20111:16 pm
        by Laser


        i wasn’t making excuses. that’s for sure. just shrugging off a bogus vote and trying to offer reasons why it shouldn’t be too upsetting to a fanbase that has more than enough to be upset about and has ample time ahead of it to continue to be upset about existing problems and problems yet to come.
        and something less than 100% of what i wrote is inconsequential to the matter at hand. my first point (and the musings that followed) was a direct reference to the headline of this post. if the headline of the post is relevant to the content of the post, then so must be my direct reference. also, at a minimum, the bit about neal’s 3 second place votes (3!!!!!!!) having negated the entire exercise was of consequence.
        but my main point is that people should be used to this kind of garbage and shouldn’t let it bother them. it’s my strong belief that there’s too much wrong with this franchise to sweat a crooked poll. monroe was a victim of circumstance and the snub should be acknowledged. i just wouldn’t lose sleep over this. better to lose sleep over the fact that the pistons are going to be awful next year and very probably for years to come. maybe my response was a bit of a non sequitur, but i get frustrated when anyone puts focus on things like this. you may as well get mad at the grass for being green. i ain’t hurtin’ nobody.

        • May 5, 20111:35 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          “but my main point is that people should be used to this kind of garbage and shouldn’t let it bother them.”

          See, I feel the exact opposite. Yes, we should be used to the media making stupid decisions with their votes. Derrick Rose as damn near a unanimous MVP this year is exhibit A, and the ROY vote is exhibit B. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let it bother us. You could take any informed NBA fan who simply watches the game out of love in their spare time and they could fill out those ballots better than the media who are paid, paid very well in some cases, to do nothing but watch and cover NBA basketball. That’s a serious problem. I’m a huge advocate of letting things like this bother people a lot, so that they are loud and obnoxious about how stupid the process is and how terribly uninformed the people who are supposed to be the most informed are when it comes to things like this.

  • May 5, 20112:44 pm
    by Laser


    fair enough. believe it or not, i try to pick my battles. this one just doesn’t raise my ire quite the same way. i’m just resigned to things like this.
    it would be a different story if the top three vote-getters weren’t who they are, since it’s not hard to make a case for wall or cousins. even with that pitiful shooting percentage, 14.1 points looks much better than 9.4. the extra rebound, twice as many assists. those things tend to draw more attention than who turned the ball over less, unless the differences are simply eye-popping. cousins was certainly more involved in the kings’ offense than monroe was in detroit’s, and i admit i have no idea how cousins did on the defensive end… but again, that would probably only get real attention if it was eye-poppingly bad. like, charlie villanueva bad.
    maybe it’s just conditioning, but the top three spots seem to have much more significance, and even though i think moose deserved third place, i wouldn’t gripe at all about him finishing fourth. fifth would make me roll my eyes. sixth (along with neal’s THREE second place votes… THREE!) just invalidates the whole thing. but when it comes to raising a big stink, the difference between fourth and sixth feels inconsequential for some reason, even though the difference between third and fifth would feel pretty significant. sorry to have so little passion for this injustice; this team has sucked away my passion. the only passion i have left is venom towards joe dumars and outrage over fans who get distracted from the franchise’s myriad tangible problems.

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