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Greg Monroe preparing to play power forward, good sign for Andre Drummond and Vyacheslav Kravtsov

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

“They basically said I need to be prepared to play power forward,” Monroe told me after a lengthy workout Monday at the team’s practice facility. “They’re looking for at least one of those guys to be ready, so I’ve started to prepare myself to be ready to play the four. We’ve been working on stuff to have me in those positions.”

“It’s very OK with me,” he said. “With us there’s not that much of a difference, anyway. I’m not really worried about the transition. I’ve been playing power forward and center all my life, so I’m comfortable with playing either. I’m comfortable with the ball in the mid-post and at the elbow. Defensively, maybe that would be the only thing – guarding different types of players. I would have to scout more, learn the guys’ tendencies. It would be different footwork, moving your feet more.

“But I’m ready for the challenge. Like I’ve always said, I’m here to do whatever my team needs me to do. Defense is the staple of this organization. It’s what coach L is trying to do, so I’m just here to work as hard as I can to get better at that, too.”

There are basically three positions in the NBA now: bigs, wings and point guards. So, it doesn’t matter too much whether Greg Monroe plays either of the big positions, center or power forward. He’s probably the Pistons’ best power forward right now and their best center.

When he plays with Andre Drummond or Vyacheslav Kravtsov, Monroe is probably better suited to play power forward. So, if the “they” in Monroe’s quote above is the Pistons, that’s a good sign the organization believes Drummond and/or Kravtsov will be ready to contribute this season.

28 Comments

  • Aug 14, 201211:17 am
    by labatts

    Reply

    I’m curious what the biggest difference is between the two positions at this point.  It sound like, from Monroe’s quotes, that it is mostly where he positions himself on offense. 

    • Aug 14, 201211:23 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yeah, I think it sounds like he’s more comfortable on offense doing whatever the PF does in Frank’s offense. It could also be about defensive matchups too though — if they have a ‘center’ Monroe would never have to guard the opposing team’s biggest player.

  • Aug 14, 201211:18 am
    by bugsygod

    Reply

    Who else would “they” be?? Aliens telling monroe to play PF?  LOL.  Seriously thou, it will be great for Monroe to have a couple legit bigs to help down low.  I was watching one of their games from last year(i still have about 6 on dvr) and it was just sad/amazing seeing Greg battle 2-3 bigs down low with virtually no help.  Max is just too undersized and ben can only give limited minutes.  So i know Greg is super excited having a couple 7 ft 280 guys to bang the other teams.  If both these guys can come an play right away, we will have one of the larger front courts in the league!

  • Aug 14, 201211:27 am
    by Scott86Free

    Reply

    I could see Greg at the 4 playing 30-35 mins (JJ can play a tweener so between him in Charlie V one of his rare good nights can take whats left) and letting Andre Drummond, Vyacheslav Kravtsov, and Wallace or Maxiell play 16 mins each at the center postion.

    • Aug 14, 201212:11 pm
      by vic

      Reply

      I like that idea. I’d rather let Monroe maximize his skills and let the stronger guys bang with the other teams center, even if its piecemeal.

      • Aug 14, 20128:12 pm
        by Geoff

        Reply

        The stronger guys? I’m pretty sure Monroe is still the strongest guy on the team. Strength has never been a weakness of Monroes’. 

    • Aug 14, 20122:06 pm
      by MNM

      Reply

      Wallace currently isn’t on the team.. Until he makes a deciscion on whether or not to retire and the Pistons make a trade for a pick, then you have to assume that Ben Wallace is out.

    • Aug 14, 20122:12 pm
      by labatts

      Reply

      Either Dan or Patrick (can’t remember which) said this before, and I think they are right:  If the new bigs can actually play, we will probably see Villanueva’s most impactful season as a Piston.  It will allow him to stand there and jack up threes (you know, Austin Daye type player).

  • Aug 14, 201212:26 pm
    by Brandow

    Reply

    good for greg, at PF he can now guard much smaller guys which will actually inprove his defense(mostly shot blocking) we can also put JJ at the 3 since he feels that position is comfortable for him

    • Aug 14, 20122:45 pm
      by Scott Free

      Reply

      Drummond/Kravtsov, Monroe, JJ, & Magette would make for one BIG lineup.

    • Aug 14, 20127:01 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Most shot blocking at the rim is from the weak side, not the man actually matched up with. And on the whole, PFs take a lot more shots in the NBA than Cs. So I would not expect this to increase Monroe’s block rate at all.

      • Aug 15, 20128:16 pm
        by Chris H

        Reply

        I’m not sure the defensive comparison between all of those guys, but I know Greg is not the guy to come from the weak side and block a lot of shots.  I think in that case Greg should be guarding whoever the post threat is, and the other guys come over for weakside help.  I think that would be better for the pistons defense.  I’m not saying it would be easy on Monroe.

  • Aug 14, 20121:11 pm
    by DG

    Reply

    What it probably means is that the team management already thinks that Drummond and/or Kravtsov are already better defensive options than the remainder of the PFs the Pistons have, and thus a better compliment to Greg’s skillset.  It’s nice to have the flexibility of a Monroe so the team can play different matchups and positions. 

    The Pistons already have a number of offensive options they can exploit (Knight, Stuckey, Monroe, and even Prince/Maggette).  The bigger need is for defense.  Especially inside.

  • Aug 14, 20121:14 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    Of course Monroe is going to play power forward. Did anyone think Kravtsov and Drummond had to beat out Monroe for playing time? Of course not, they just have to beat out Maxiel. 

    By the trade deadline, I hope our big man rotation looks like:

    Center: Drummond and Kravtsov, in some order, 48 minutes/game, split approximately equally
    PF: Monroe, 32-34 minutes per game, Jerebko the rest. 

    The other possibility is Jerebko playing his minutes at SF, with Maxiel or CV the backup PF.  But I’m hoping we’re about done with those two.  If Kravtsov and Drummond are both worth rotation minutes this year, then Maxiel becomes a trade chip for a guard.  With a $5 million expiring contract for a rotation quality (backup, but still rotation quality) PF, he should be a good  trade chip for a useful backup guard. And if it’s a guard who can run an offense, so much the better.

    After the mess the last Pistons plunge into free agency caused, I am hoping for a more thoughtful plan this time.  Using up some of our plethora of potential cap space this summer by trading expiring contracts may be wise, depending on who they can get back.

  • Aug 14, 20121:18 pm
    by Jodi Jezz

    Reply

    Slap in the face to everyone who actually thought Monroe was our future Center, smh…

    • Aug 14, 20125:12 pm
      by Jack

      Reply

      Slap in the face to everyone who thought CV would ever be a rotation player.  Monroe is going to be an all star Jodi Jizz.  So stop talkin.

    • Aug 14, 20127:04 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Not really. He is still most likely going to be the face of the franchise and their best PF/C for a long time. People who talked about him being their center of the future more meant that that was a perfectly viable option than that he absolutely had to play the 5, not the 4.

  • Aug 14, 20121:53 pm
    by XstreamINsanity

    Reply

    I think there are nights when you will see Monroe play the 4 on offense and the 5 on defense.  Monroe is possibly a bit slower than Kravtsof and/or Drummond, therefore we may need their athleticism to stay with some of the 4′s in today’s game on defense.  But on offense, Monroe can bang the 4′s in the paint or step out to the elbow.  We have the potential of a freaky combination where they’ll easily be able to switch off if needed.

    • Aug 14, 20122:02 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yeah, like Dan said in the post, the 4-5 position in the NBA today is basically interchangeable. The Pistons will hopefully look for ways to move him around offensively while allowing him to guard the worst of the two opposing bigs on defense, whether that player is a 4 or 5.

  • Aug 14, 20123:24 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    Drummonds Lane Agility test said he was in the 10 top of this years class in Speed, and the only player faster than him was Nene in 2002….and Nene was 253 lbs drummond was over 270 at the combine…. Why I say that? IF he stay of Foul trouble then it doesnt matter defensive if he plays 4 or 5, his help defense is going to be incredible…. his lane ability where it matter ranks like that of a Guard… who happened to have a 7’6 wingspan, 9’0 reach, a 34 inch vertical in a bad day…..

    • Aug 14, 20128:18 pm
      by Geoff

      Reply

      If players were robots, you’d be exactly right Ray. 

      Unfortunately instincts, coordination, reaction time, IQ, toughness, discipline and aggressiveness all play a role. Doesnt mean I think Drummond is weak in any of those areas, but his current development indicates he has a ways to go. 

  • Aug 14, 20123:24 pm
    by Ray

    Reply

    “”"”the only player faster than him at his size”"”

  • Aug 14, 20129:08 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    there he goes, he is the Pistons’ Tim Duncan…

    if Monroe improves his perimeter shooting then wow…. he will dominate at pf position!

    the only question is… slava and drummond ready to start? i wanna see slava play off the bench and let drummond start…

  • Aug 15, 20129:42 am
    by JT's Hoops Blog

    Reply

    I doubt that Monroe will see much time at PF spot because both Drummond and Slava are too raw to start.  Drummond will probably foul out within the first ten minutes of the game. 

    • Aug 16, 201212:19 pm
      by Keith

      Reply

      Drummond was surprisingly good with fouls in summer league and rarely ran into much trouble in college. Part of that is lack of positioning – he’ll be away from his spot and won’t be able to contest. Part of that is sound fundamentals in shotblocking – he jumps straight up to block rather than forward so as not to create contact with the shooter. Fouls are pretty low on the list of reason for Drummond to be sitting. I do agree he is probably too raw for significant minutes right away, but I think it will have everything to do with learning the system and his role, not because he’s fouling out.

  • Aug 15, 20123:23 pm
    by Keith

    Reply

    Monroe is our Tim Duncan. We can throw out positional labels all we want (Timmy’s played center since Robinson retired, but is always listed as a PF), but we are just going to use Monroe wherever and however we can. We should start to implement an old Spurs style offense, where the ball is dumped to Monroe at the beginning of nearly every possession, even if he just kicks back out for a different play. Everyone else will get easier shots when the defense constantly needs to account for Monroe.

    As for his skillset, it’s a mixed bag right now. He’s rather slow-footed, and doesn’t defend well outside the paint. But, he is also a very strong passer and ball handler, so he can be utilized on offense farther from the basket. I think when all is said and done, it’s going to be about matchups. Drummond will guard the tougher opponent at either position while Monroe will be saved for offense where he can play high or low depending on the defender and our playcalling.

    • Aug 17, 201212:24 am
      by Max

      Reply

      I think Monroe is actually great at defending outside of the paint when he shows to pressure the ball handler.   Most bigs foul way too often when trying to help pressure the ball handler but Monroe has the knack of not fouling in that situation. 

      • Aug 17, 201212:59 pm
        by Keith

        Reply

        The problem I see is that he can’t recover to his man (like a pick and roll) quickly and gets beaten to the rim by PFs that can handle the ball. He shows well on picks (though I disagree that big men tend to foul there – unless left alone to defend a guard), he just isn’t quick enough to be a factor once the ball moves or the opponent looks to drive.

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