There was genuine anger in the Pistons front office this week when USA Basketball released the roster for the USA Select Team that will help the Olympic team prepare for the Summer Games in London.
USA basketball spokesman Craig Miller said Wednesday that Monroe’s absence is not a slight — it’s just that USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski were specifically looking for certain skill sets geared toward the international style of play.
"Of course Monroe was considered," Miller told the Free Press. "We are very aware that Greg had an excellent season. The selections were based more on what the coaching staff felt would help the team prepare better."
I certainly don’t mind the passion from the Pistons front office. I actually welcome it.
But, in this case, I can’t match it. I find Miller’s explanation completely believable and reasonable.
Greg Monroe is probably better than the bigs chosen ahead of him. But his all-around game that lacks only positional defense might not be suited to developing the national team – which is the primary responsibility responsibility of the select team.
DeMarcus Cousins is more explosive. Derrick Favors is more athletic. DeJuan Blair is stronger. Taj Gibson defends better. Ryan Anderson shoots better. Mike Krzyzewski can use those players in specific roles more so than he could Monroe.
It’s like when a team uses a scout-team cornerback to imitate an opponent’s running quarterback. That doesn’t mean the cornerback is a better quarterback than the third-string quarterback. The cornerback just brings a look necessary to prepare for a specific foe.
It would have been nice for Monroe to make the select team, especially because that would help put him on the path to the national team. But Monroe has already proven he deserves consideration.
USA basketball can watch hours of Monroe via Synergy and other similar tools. At this point, there should be no serious questions about Monroe’s attitude and work-ethic. There’s little need to see him up close, like there might be for someone like Cousins.
As long as USA basketball doesn’t have Monroe behind these other players on the national-team list – and there’s no indication it does – I’m fine with Monroe being left off the select team.
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