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The Pistons know Greg Monroe can improve defensively, right?

In his lottery preview, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com begins by explaining the Pistons’ needs:

The Pistons finished last in field-goal percentage defense. Any stand to reverse a two-year absence from the postseason starts at that end.

I completely agree. Surprisingly, the Pistons’ offense wasn’t half bad this season. But their defense was awful. Until recently, Detroit’s defense was its calling card. I’d welcome any moves that help the Pistons re-gain their defensive identity. If that means drafting a player who can help on that end, fantastic.

But that can’t be the only way to improve. What about developing their current players defensively?

Well, when it comes to Greg Monroe, that’s not a priority. For another article today, Langlois talked to Pistons players development coach Steve Hetzel about his plans for Monroe this summer:

“The main focus will be to get him game-fatigue shots,” the Pistons’ player development coach told me. “We worked the whole year on spot-up shooting, on his form, getting his shot down. But that is nothing compared to a game where you have adrenaline pumping and fatigue comes into play. I told him before he left, when he works out on his own, he needs to be doing a lot of conditioning and shooting drills so that he maintains his form when he’s tired.”

The article continues about Monroe’s shot and how improved shooting will help his passing from the high post. Not mentioned: defense.

Monroe was a fine defender for a rookie big man. His quick hands generated plenty of steals, and he moves well for his size, which allowed him to be effective on the pick-and-roll.

But he still needs to gain lower-body strength, which will allow him to better defend on the block, where he could work a bit on his defensive footwork, too. He also should work on his awareness, which would allow him to rotate quicker on the help side.

Those things seem very important to me. To the Pistons, they seem secondary, at best.

If you think I’ve talked about this very issue before, I have. And I’m not going to stop until the Pistons show — heck, at this point, I’d settle for say — they’re dedicated to improving Monroe’s defense.


  • May 16, 20119:04 pm
    by Jay


    The Pistons need to draft Keith Benson (Center) out of Oakland and JaJuan Johnson (Purdue) and stop talking about that African guy that would have effect as their last number two draft pick that was also very raw. Let’s get real. Keith Benson was on a subpar team that came to pay game. JaJuan Johnson will be a very productive NBA player. My third round pick would be the center out of the University of Washington, because he is scrappy or a European.

  • May 17, 20111:07 am
    by bob bayer


    great article!  Keep pushing the defensive improvements necessary for the Pistons

  • May 17, 20114:21 am
    by Jakob Eich


    I agree with that the Pistons need to improve on defense a whole lot. I just disagree with the notion Monroe should do a lot of defensive work. I’m sure it is somewhere on the schedule for him but right now he is pretty much a diamond in the rough on offense. If Monroe becomes a reliable post scorer, shooters like Gordon and Daye should get a lot more open looks and it will make Detroit’s offense more enjoyable to watch. GM already is an above average defender and he will never be a shot-blocking player. He contests shots and shows a willingness to improve. He has more defensive instincts than offensive instincts, he won’t have to work as hard for defensive improvements so I like what they are doing!

    • May 17, 20118:43 am
      by Tim


      Seriously, you think Monroe is already an above average post defender? Above average for a rookie billed as primarily an offensive player, sure. But very few rookies are particularly strong on defense and Monroe was no exception.

      • May 17, 201110:29 am
        by Jakob Eich


        You are right, above-average for a rookie is what I meant, but on good nights he was an above average post defender. His defensive game is better than his offense, especially taking into consideration he was supposed to be better on offense. He has no go-to move in the low-post, his midrange shot is shaky at best. He gobbles up the trash and produces good stats. I don’t think he will be a defensive cornerstone for the Pistons. He has a great attitude and won’t be a liability, but we should enhance the skills that’ll help the team and get great defenders to surround him. He was arguably the best starting Pistons defender last year!

        • May 17, 201110:45 am
          by neutes


          Yep. The team’s defense was absurdly pathetic. And Monroe happened to have the 2nd best d-rating on the team next to Ben Wallace. So I suppose he’s the last guy that should be getting knocked for defense on the team. Also 2.5 fouls per game shows he can defend without fouling.
          The team as a whole lacks for defense. Prince, Mcgrady, Wilcox, and Wallace could all be gone next season leaving this team stacked with defensive studs like Daye, Gordon, Bynum, CV, Rip, and Maxiell. How is this defense going to get better without getting different players?

  • May 17, 20115:29 am
    by robotboy15


    As someone who never gets to watch games, I’ve wondered (and almost been afraid to ask) how effective Monroe is at the defensive end or how effective he could become.  There’s no question that he’s looked great in the stats sheets and given that everything we know about his attitude and work ethic (though, frankly, that is too often just a matter of having the right PR handlers), would make one hesitant to criticize the guy at all.
    But that doesn’t mean that he could be a difference maker on defense.  Oooh, we’d love it if he ended up being even a Duncan-lite.  But there are some really hardworking guys who just can’t become great defenders, and I had to wonder what role he played in the Pistons seemingly leading the planet in layups allowed.

  • May 17, 201112:04 pm
    by Fennis


    You make a great point. As bad as the defense is this year, it could be much worse next year with the loss of Tayshaun, and B Gordon being likely to get considerably more playing time. The team needs to invest in two to three above average defensive role players with the hopes of compensating for the team’s numerous defensive liabilities.
    Feldman, I definitely agree that Monroe should work on his D. Why isn’t there talk of him hitting the weights like Jonas and AD did after their first year (or during their first year for that matter). The guy has sufficient bulk, but seems allergic to the weight room (a la Paul Pierce). For all the great things I have to say about Monroe, this concerns me. To maximize his potential and rise to the level of a top big man in the league he has to become one of the stronger big man in the league. I haven’t seen any a commitment to or even an acknowledgment of this latter goal. That said, I think Monroe is the second best defender on the team next to Stuckey. But keep in mind that we’re talking about the worst defensive team in the league.

  • May 17, 201112:28 pm
    by Mike Payne


    Monroe’s defense was discussed in Langlois’ prior article with Hetzel.  Specifically, they talked about Monroe’s help defense and p/r defense, both of which were areas that Monroe excelled in on the defensive end last season.

    • May 19, 20111:46 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      He excelled for a rookie big man. He still has plenty of work to do on that end. It’s too early to just celebrate his success on that end.

      • May 19, 20113:07 pm
        by Mike Payne


        My point wasn’t about my opinion on the situation, Dan.  This post suggests that because this article didn’t discuss Monroe’s defense, that it’s not a priority.    The post that preceded it discussed his defense specifically.

        • May 21, 20113:58 pm
          by Dan Feldman


          The first article was about what Monroe has learned. The second article was about what the Pistons want Monroe to work on. Defense wasn’t mentioned in the second article.

          Between the two articles, the only mention of Monroe’s defense was to praise it. I don’t think his defense is close to a finished product, but these articles indicate it’s not a priority for him this summer.

  • May 17, 20112:14 pm
    by Jakob Eich


    @ Fennis: Stuckey’s your #1 defender on the team? How did you come to that conclusion? He’s ok defensively, but that’s who he is, just ok, everywhere … except for behavior!
    @ Mike Payne: I covered it quite a bit on my breakdowns this year. He drastically improved in his rotations. At the beginning of the year he missed them a lot and at the end he even won ball games just by standing in the right spot. You cant work on that during the offseason, it’s experience, awareness and how quickly you pick it up. Duncan and Dirk have probably played a  similar amount of minutes in this league yet one of them is arguably the greatest post-defender of all time and the other is still a liability. As I said, he should be fine defensively.

  • May 17, 20119:21 pm
    by Fennis


    Who is your candidate for Pistons DPOY? Please do not say Tayshaun. That guy gave up more layups than Ben Gordon and Wil Bynum combined.

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