The thing that hurts Monroe when it comes to awards voting is the same thing that made him such a solid player for Detroit this season: subtlety. Watching the Pistons, it was pretty common, especially in the second half of the season, to glance at the box score in the third quarter or so and say, “Wow … Monroe has 12 points and 10 rebounds already?” He’s not particularly explosive or athletic. He scored points by taking good shots, by crashing the offensive glass and by using craftiness around the basket to make up for his lack of athleticism. He’s a throwback player to the earlier 2000s Detroit teams — selfless, hard-working, smart and largely anonymous outside of Detroit. Monroe’s advanced stats clearly make him one of the five best rookies in the league this year. Monroe was also hurt by the fact that the Pistons were not just bad this season, they were unwatchable, perhaps the most boring and predictable team in the NBA to watch on a night-to-night basis. That doesn’t change the fact that Monroe was absolutely Detroit’s best player this season when you factor in production, attitude and upside.
Gary Neal and Landry Fields had nice seasons for better teams, which gave them more exposure. They also played with more talented teammates who created more opportunities for them. Monroe’s consistency this season is most remarkable simply because the Pistons were an absolute mess of a team and organization around him. He was the lone bright spot for Detroit, but surrounded by so much chaos, it’s easy to see why Monroe has been overlooked by media in the Rookie of the Year voting and now by coaches in the All-Rookie team voting.
Coincidentally, Gary Neal, who made the first team over Monroe, is a very early 2000s Pistons-like player as well. Check out the rest of Andrew’s post about Neal. Although I certainly believe Monroe deserved the first team nod, it’s impossible not to respect the season Neal had out of nowhere for the Spurs this year.
Leave a Reply