Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press asks a question I’ve been hoping someone would ask Joe Dumars for a while now:
“Should Greg Monroe have been an All-Star this season?”
After taking that moment to consider, one would think the Pistons president of basketball operations would have enthusiastically answered in the affirmative for his second-year center.
But Dumars finally said Monroe, who is averaging 16.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, still has some work to do before being mentioned among the NBA’s best big men.
“I wouldn’t mention him right now, simply because he’s not there yet, but I will say this: We really like the direction he’s headed in,” Dumars said. “We know he has to continue to get better. When you have young players, they are either headed in the right direction, they’re stagnant or they’re headed in the wrong direction. Greg Monroe is headed in the right direction.”
I’ve ranted enough on this topic over the last few weeks, so I won’t go into too much detail here. But what just seems crazy to me is the Pistons have never really shied away from ratcheting up expectations for young players, particularly with Rodney Stuckey, who has been compared to everyone from Chauncey Billups to Russell Westbrook by people close to the organization during his career. Even this year with Brandon Knight, I’ve heard (and been annoyed by) the Isiah Thomas whispers by George Blaha, among a few others. In Monroe, they have a player who is actually producing at a level commensurate with his potential, and suddenly everyone close to the team is taking a toned down, rational approach to talking about young players? This is your guy! Sell him!
I don’t know if Monroe is an All-Star. I certainly agree with Dumars that he has areas of his game that still need work and that hopefully he stays hungry and puts in that work. But statistically, Monroe stacks up with any center in the East not named Howard. He’s really, really close production-wise to Roy Hibbert, who is an All-Star. Part of me gets Dumars taking that understated approach to praising Monroe but part of me also wishes the organization would scream out loud and tell everyone how great Monroe has played. As we saw last year when Monroe got jobbed in end of the year rookie awards, he certainly suffered from a lack of awareness about his talent and what he produced.
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