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Even NBA GMs don’t know how good Greg Monroe is

We’ve known for a while that fans and some media outside of Detroit tend to overlook Greg Monroe in discussions on who some of the best young players in the league are. When NBA.com released its annual GM survey today, asking the league’s general managers 57 questions about their predictions for the upcoming season, I was sure Monroe’s name would be mentioned in at least a couple categories.

Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2012-13? No Monroe:

1. Klay Thompson, Golden State — 13.3%
2. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland, and Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio — 10.0%
4. Paul George, Indiana, and James Harden, Oklahoma City — 6.7%

Also receiving votes: Nicolas Batum, Portland; Alec Burks, Utah; DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento; Stephen Curry, Golden State; Kenneth Faried, Denver; Taj Gibson, Chicago; Eric Gordon, New Orleans; Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers; Gordon Hayward, Utah; Andre Iguodala, Denver; DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers; Ty Lawson, Denver; JaVale McGee, Denver; Josh Selby, Memphis; Evan Turner, Philadelphia; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City

The strangest thing about that list is that a lot of those players have already had breakout seasons. Westbrook, Griffin and Iguodala have already been All-Stars and Olympians. How have those guys not ‘broken out’ already?

At any rate, Monroe was sure to get a mention in the best offensive rebounders category, right? Nope:

1. Kevin Love, Minnesota — 53.3%
2. Kenneth Faried, Denver — 16.7%
3. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento — 6.7%, dwight Howard, L.A. Lakers — 6.7%

Also receiving votes: Tyson Chandler, New York; Reggie Evans, Brooklyn; Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers; Kris Humphries, Brooklyn; Zach Randolph, Memphis

Monroe was ninth in the league in offensive rebounds overall and sixth in the league in offensive rebounding percentage. Cousins was the only player that GMs mentioned who had a better offensive rebounding percentage.

I’m sure that GMs in the league don’t take this super seriously, and they shouldn’t … they have far more pressing things to attend to. But I think it’s a good example of something that should be pointed out. The media (deservedly in a lot of cases) often gets a bad rap for not paying close enough attention when ranking players or voting on awards or things like that. But in some cases, the people on the inside overlook really good players too.

As for the rest of the list, Andre Drummond was mentioned in a couple categories. Rookie most likely to be a sleeper success:

1. Jared Sullinger, Boston — 17.2%
2. Maurice Harkless, Orlando, Andrew Nicholson, Orlando — 13.8%
4. Jae Crowder, Dallas, Damian Lillard, Portland — 10.3%
6. Terrence Jones, Houston — 6.9%

Also receiving votes: Jared Cunningham, Dallas; Andre Drummond, Detroit; Evan Fournier, Denver; John Jenkins, Atlanta; Perry Jones, Oklahoma City; Doron Lamb, Milwaukee; Donatas Motiejunas, Houston; Terrence Ross, Toronto

I would personally add Draymond Green to that list too, but I totally agree with Jae Crowder as well. I think Crowder will be a really solid player for the Mavs this season.

Drummond was also mentioned, obviously, among the most athletic rookies:

1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans — 40.0%
2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte — 16.7%
3. Andre Drummond, Detroit — 13.3%
4. Terrence Ross, Toronto — 10.0%
5. Perry Jones, Oklahoma City — 6.7%

Also receiving votes: Quincy Acy, Toronto; Terrence Jones, Houston; Thomas Robinson, Sacramento; Dion Waiters, Cleveland

No slight to MKG, but I’d probably put Drummond as a close second to Davis. Drummond’s athleticism might be more impressive because he’s heavier than Davis, but Davis also has perimeter skills and quickness that Drummond lacks, so that probably puts him just a bit ahead.

Also, just for fun, check out the former Pistons coach who received a mention on the ‘best assistant coaches’ list:

1. Brian Shaw, Indiana — 23.3%
2. Mike Budenholzer, San Antonio — 20.0%
3. Steve Clifford, L.A. Lakers, Mike Malone, Golden State — 10.0%
5. Maurice Cheeks, Oklahoma City, Jay Triano, Portland — 6.7%

Also receiving votes: Ron Adams, Chicago; Kenny Atkinson, Atlanta; Brett Brown, San Antonio; Michael Curry, Philadelphia; Darren Erman, Golden State; Armond Hill, Boston; Elston Turner, Phoenix

Can’t wait to see Curry back on the sidelines as a head coach in one of his fancy suits.


  • Oct 22, 20124:26 pm
    by Otis


    I can’t say I’m surprised. But also, I think Detroit fans overrate their players like nobody’s business. Perhaps out of necessity since there’s so little to be excited about with the Pistons. For instance, Brandon Knight has tremendous potential and could be a great player one day, but he isn’t a good point guard yet. At the risk of sounding too negative, I count zero untouchable Pistons, Monroe included. I’d be reluctant to trade Monroe, Drum, Knight and JJ, but I truly feel like waiting for our young core to develop slowly over the next three or four seasons isn’t the best or fastest way to build a dynasty. All the cap space in the world isn’t going to lure a star here, and I think the front office is going to need to be creative to really turn the franchise into something worth getting excited about. And that probably includes trading away some of our good young players for proven commodities. Sorry, here I’ve gotten off topic…

    What I was going to say is that maybe Greg Monroe is just what we think he is. What you see is what you get. Maybe last season was his breakout season (and really, he came into his own in the second half of his rookie year). Maybe he’s going to give you just under 20 points and just under 10 rebounds a night with good passing and sub-par athleticism. And there’s nothing wrong with that. He’d still be our best player by fifty thousand miles. I just don’t expect him to bust out and set the world on fire. Unlike Drummond and maybe even Knight, I don’t think the sky is the limit for Monroe. I think we can expect him to gradually develop his passing skills and post moves and outside shot, but I don’t think he’s a particularly good candidate to “break out.”

    The bit about offensive boards is a minor oversight. Honestly it seems like a stupid question. I can’t imagine any GM would put any thought into it, and it’s so easy to overlook the Pistons. 

    • Oct 22, 20124:32 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      “Unlike Drummond and maybe even Knight, I don’t think the sky is the limit for Monroe.”

      I’ve seen similar sentiments from people before. My question, though, is why not? Monroe is 22. Knight will be 21 in December. Knight was the No. 6 prospect in the country as a HS senior. Monroe was No. 8. Drummond I think was top threeish. And unlike Knight and Drummond, Monroe has played big minutes at a high level at both the college and pro level. Is it just athleticism? He’s not as athletic as those guys so he doesn’t have as much upside? I don’t get it.

      • Oct 22, 20128:52 pm
        by tarsier


        I think it’s got more to do with the fact that he is pretty consistent as opposed to flashing greatness in the middle of a mediocre performance. Guys who are occasionally great sometimes become consistently great. Guys who are consistently good rarely become consistently great.

      • Oct 22, 201211:52 pm
        by Keith


        Actually, if anything is putting a cap on Monroe’s potential, it’s athleticism. He may never be an above average defender (for example) because he simply isn’t that quick or strong in the post. You can score efficiently and rebound without great athleticism, but you also are limited in your opportunities. Drummond is still raw as they come, but he is a boon to our offense just because he can finish a lob or roll to the basket faster than his defender. Monroe doesn’t have that ability, so the number of skills he can continue to improve is capped.
        That’s not to say he can’t still be very good or even great. But athleticism is the reason Al Jefferson has always put up big, and hollow, numbers. It’s why the smaller Kevin Garnett is one of the best PFs ever, and why the 6-9 Ben Wallace was one of the greatest defenders in history. Monroe may very well be a 20-10-3 player, the next Pau Gasol, but he also may just be a better passing version of Al Jefferson. Neither of those options is a bust, but Memphis legitimately was able to build a playoff team around Pau, while Jefferson has never added a lot to the team’s bottom line as their best player.

      • Oct 23, 20121:05 am
        by jerrific


        I share your sentiment. I think if Monroe demanded the ball more, he could easily be a player that averages 20 points a game. With Drommund on our team his chances of averaging a double double might be a little less, but there’s no reason he can’t be a force on offense. I think people in general put too much stock in athleticism. Don’t get me wrong, it is important, but there have been some truly great players who made a name for themselves with limited athleticism because they were very skilled. Larry Bird and Paul Pierce both come to mind immediately. I don’t see any reason Monroe can’t improve upon what he did last season, it’s really just a matter of becoming more assertive and knowing that his team needs him to take over more. No one else on this squad can do it as efficiently as he does. 

      • Oct 23, 20121:45 am
        by MrHappyMushroom


        I think the sense that some of us have is that Monroe is a really good player and we’re lucky to have him, but probably not going to be a superstar.  He’s been a Duncan-lite nominee and that seems really appropriate, mostly because he’s not close to an elite defender.
        I believe he rebounds a lot better than David West, but I guess I sort of see him as a West-caliber player, which is a great thing to have. But I don’t see David West as the top gun on a championship contender.
        I don’t think I see Knight’s higher upside either. But I think most people will say that if Drummond ever develops to be “as good as he can possibly be”, that would be a perennial all-star.  More likely, though, he’ll end up being less than Monroe.

        • Oct 23, 201212:59 pm
          by jerrific


          How do you define superstar? If you define it as a player capable of transcending statistics and carrying a team to championship contention then I agree with you. no realistic Pistons fan expects that of Monroe. That doesn’t mean he can’t take his game to another level. He’s still way to young and inexperienced to say he has definitively reached his ceiling. 

      • Oct 23, 20123:07 pm
        by Otis


        Sorry I’m a bit late to the response party, Patrick. But these guys covered a lot of it. Athleticism has a lot to do with it, especially with a guy who’s got less than average athleticism for the league. But also, some guys are just what they are. He’s very good, but I’m not sure he’s ever going to be great. Just because he’s only 22 doesn’t mean he’s got an infinite ceiling.

        My question for you, I suppose, would be: What do you expect in terms of his growth in order to break out? I suppose he could become a knock-down 15-17 foot shooter like McDyess or Garnett, but that’s about all I think is reasonable at that point, and it would take a tremendous amount of work. He’s got the size, smarts and fundamentals. He’s not likely to develop into a dominant low post scorer or elite defender. Maybe he’s just what he is. And that’s fine, but I just don’t see the point in putting guys on a pedestal just because their jersey has your city’s name on it.

        I know you guys have had this “Internal Improvement” series going, and that’s really the only hope for this season and who knows maybe next, but internal improvement isn’t a guarantee, and I don’t think it’s going to get this team very far– at least not any time soon. When fans talk about how we have a great young team and should be patient and not make moves, I think they’re just holding the team back and getting in the way of progress. Until this team actually looks good, why not encourage moves that would better our situation?

  • Oct 22, 20126:23 pm
    by tarsier


    If anyone was wondering just how silly the results of these surveys can be, check out the question “Which player makes the most of limited natural ability?”

    Some GM voted for Kevin Durant. 

  • Oct 22, 20128:27 pm
    by Slash


    Patrick, regarding Monroe, I think it’s the fact that he’s not a center who brings in the highlights along with being on a bad team the last couple of years. 

  • Oct 23, 20129:59 am
    by danny


    Moose is our saving grace, now shut the hell up with that nonsense.  I thought ppl here were pistons fans.  All I hear is “we cant make the playoffs” and “this person is garbage”.  Root for the team for once in your life.  I swear people only liked this team when we were going to the ecf’s.

    • Oct 23, 201212:09 pm
      by Max


      Well said, Danny.  So many of the so called fans on this site consistently disappoint me more than the team or players ever have. 

    • Oct 23, 201212:14 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      I don’t understand a single thing said in this thread that could possibly have either of you two upset. Ridiculous, lightweight comments.

      • Oct 23, 201212:25 pm
        by Max


        I saw Danny’s comment and agreed with it in general and Otis always bashes the team as harshly as possible with every comment he makes.   This thread actually doesn’t have me feeling upset though but I just read the Stuckey internal improvement one and got very upset. 

    • Oct 23, 201212:21 pm
      by Max


      @Danny—I’ve just come to believe that Pistons fans are some of the biggest spoiled brats this side of the Lakers.   The Pistons elite record over the last 25 years and absurdly great health has warped their thinking to the extent that they act like finishing 8th worst or so is dead last and treat a player like Stuckey when he misses about 8 games a year like he’s as injury prone as Kevin Martin or Eric Gordon who have histories of missing 40-60 games some years which Stuck has never approached in any of his seasons.     Other than Stuck’s rookie year, he has never played fewer than 70 games in a full season and that doesn’t even deserve a hint of the injury prone tag but some Pistons fans have no grasp of applying the concept. 

      • Oct 23, 201212:28 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        You can be ‘injury prone’ without missing games. Stuckey is durable, but he’s also physical. He has a lot of nagging injuries most seasons, and those nagging injuries sometimes affect his production. That’s not a knock on him. He’s probably one of the tougher players in the league. But his production and consistency are certainly impacted by the amount of physical punishment he takes over the course of a season.

        • Oct 23, 201212:32 pm
          by Max


          You could say the same of Kobe Bryant.   If Stuckey is injury prone, than what should players be called who do miss a lot of games most years and who have sustained major injuries which reduce their full potential or make teams worry they will never be the same player?–none of which applies to Stuckey.    

          • Oct 23, 201212:34 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            There is a much wider gulf between healthy Stuckey and injured Stuckey production than there is between healthy Kobe and injured Kobe production.

          • Oct 23, 201212:38 pm
            by Max

            Well, there is a wide gulf between Kobe and Stuck in general but you didn’t answer my question and have said nothing to make reconsider my stance that Stuck doesn’t deserve to be labeled as injury prone.

          • Oct 23, 201212:43 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            Nothing anyone says ever makes you reconsider any of the irrational, semantical stances you take. Is he injury prone in the sense that he’s going to miss 30 games a season and sit out with nagging ailments? No. Is he injury prone in the sense that he tends to pick up nagging injuries that can torpedo his production or make him less aggressive for two weeks or so at a time? Absolutely, and last season is a perfect example of that. Injuries make it hard to count on a consistent level of production from him over the course of an entire season, whether he’s actually missing a lot of games or not.

          • Oct 23, 20121:48 pm
            by Max

            It’s incredibly nit picky and last year can largely be thrown out for a variety of reasons.  If the Pistons had endured health problems like a lot of other teams, the fan base wouldn’t have these opinions about Stuckey.   Do you draft in fantasy leagues?  I draft in many leagues every year and I don’t think I have enough fingers to count the number of players who I can trust to play 82 games a year every year and not have a banged up week or 4 when they are playing.  More important than any of this though is that Stuckey has never sustained a career threatening or limiting injury of any sort and even players who do sometimes enjoy very healthy years after stumbling through their first years that got them the injury prone tag.   The fans on this site make silly comment like it is a given that Stuckey will miss 7 to 15 games this year and play ineffectively due to injury for an equal amount because they are sour pessimists.  There is really little reason to think Stuckey absolutely can’t have a great season in regards to health because he is basically a healthy player with no chronic conditions and seems to be maturing and taking things more serious.   Beyond the compresses schedule last season, Stuckey was a free agent and didn’t perform his normal workout last summer and came into camp late after signing and was a bit out of shape.   He sustained a groin injury that could have happened to anyone in such circumstance but after this past summer’s work, he should be in the best shape of his career. 

        • Oct 23, 20121:56 pm
          by Max


          Find me the player anyone dares to call injury prone who doesn’t miss games.  

      • Oct 23, 20121:25 pm
        by tarsier


        “they act like finishing 8th worst or so is dead last”

        No, we wish the talent that allowed Detroit to finish “8th worst or so” would be traded for future assets so that they would be dead last. And then the Pistons could draft a superstar and cash in the future assets. Would this definitely work? No. But it’s a lot more fun than being “8th worst or so” for half a decade (well, so far four years and counting…).

        • Oct 23, 20121:34 pm
          by Max


          And you don’t think Monroe, Drummond, Knight and Stuckey and other prospects is a good core to have at this point after 4 years of mediocre finishes…………….I do, which makes me annoyed with sour fans.

          • Oct 23, 20123:42 pm
            by tarsier

            I absolutely agree that, for finishing where they have in those four years, they have produced a significantly better core than could be expected. But I’m not convinced that it is a good enough core to return to contention. I’m hoping free agency next summer can add a piece to make it that level of a core.

            I’m hoping they continue to exceed expectations. But Dumars approach of just waiting around for ways to make incremental improvements is not a reliable approach. If he wanted to go for being a playoff team but not a contender, why did he make the Billups trade et al in the first place?

      • Oct 23, 20122:15 pm
        by tarsier


        There are slappies and bashers here. But there are a lot of realists. The general consensus was that the BG and CV signings would be awful… they were. The general consensus was that Rip and Prince extensions were bad ideas. The Rip one clearly was. The jury may be out on the Prince one, but it is very much looking like it was too. The general consensus was that the Pistons would be a late lottery team for the last couple years. They were.

        So how is that bashing? It’s recognizing that the team has been bad. Not historically, epically bad. But not fun to follow bad. 

      • Oct 24, 20123:55 am
        by Dan Feldman


        “The Pistons elite record over the last 25 years”

        There are obviously other measures besides regular-season wins, but without looking, where do you think the Pistons rank in wins during the last 25 years?

        • Oct 24, 20124:55 pm
          by Max


          I’m gonna be honest enough to answer without looking but, since you asked the question this way, the record must not be near the top.   10th? 
          3 championships, 5 finals, 11 conference finals is pretty elite in the nba over that period though.    Unless I’m wrong, only the Bulls, Lakers and Spurs can say better. 

  • Oct 23, 20123:23 pm
    by Max


    Realist and consensus are pretty subjective here but the above argument about Monroe’s capped potential is representative of a lot of bullshit I read here.   I wasn’t taking about BG or CV and I don’t know why you bring them up except to pivot to an argument I wasn’t making.   
    In my mind, there is enormous and immediate potential in the Monroe-Drummond pairing to overwhelm most competition and the back court of Stuckey and Knight has at least some chance of working out long term.  For me, there was sufficient cause for optimism and reason to enjoy watching the team ever since Monroe’s rookie year.   However, the way Drummond has looked in the preseason should have Pistons fans licking their chops at what may happen when he finally gets to start–which will happen sooner than later in my opinion.   I haven’t felt this excited about the team’s next real game since the day they made the trade for Rasheed Wallace because Drummond has shown enough for me to think that he will usher in a new era of Pistons basketball.     
    The notion that the Pistons would have been better off bottoming out to get a superstar seems pretty silly to me at this point considering the players they got in the last three drafts.   Did teams picking in the top 3 really do better over the span?
    Finally, using Duncan as a measuring stick for superstar is pretty silly since Duncan is the greatest player at his position of all time and Pistons fans should know better than to think a team needs an absolute superstar like LeBron James or something to win.    

    • Oct 23, 20124:03 pm
      by tarsier


      I brought up BG and CV among other topics to point out that, by and large, the median opinion on this site tends to be fairly accurate. It may be saying something negative about the Pistons because they aren’t perfect and don’t always do everything right. But that doesn’t make it hateful bashing.

      Would the Pistons have been better off bottoming out? Hard to say. That’s like asking if a guy who just played a game in which he was taking a ton of bad shots but managing to make most of them anyway would have been better off taking good shots. In that specific game, he may not have been. But typically, he would be. So it was a poor strategy even if it payed off.

      • Oct 23, 201210:41 pm
        by Max


        This is starting to seem like a debate amongst the Repulicans and Democrats in the sense that you are basically acting as if one group of people say negative things and that’s one side and the other says positive things and that’s another.    It’s just smug cynicism. 
        I was never for signing BG and CV and I was never for trading Billups.   I wish the Pistons had amnestied CV so they could have kept Wallace or Williams.   I wouldn’t mind if Maxiwell had his minutes cut in half or more to accommodate the rookie centers.  Don’t think that will happen.  I don’t have much confidence in the Pistons signing good free agents next summer and wish they would be more creative and use the cap money in a trade but don’t have much confidence they will do that either.  You want proof that I’m realistic?   After everything I’ve said and my belief in him, the preseason has me worried about Prince already.       
        However, you can’t just point out Dumars most obvious and worst mistakes and faults as an example of how fairly Dumars or players are treated on these boards.   It’s in the more heated debates concerning Stuckey, Prince, how good Monroe, Drummond, Jerebko and Knight can be, Dumars’ overall competence and worst of all, how good Isiah Thomas was as a player where I see Pistons being under appreciated and I think it’s a shame.    

        • Oct 23, 201210:56 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          Just want to add these thoughts:

          - I’m not resentful of the debates that go on. But I reject the notion that, if people express an opinion that sees a player differently than you see that player, they are under-appreciating said player or said team. I am absolutely not going to get into the Isiah-Stockton debate again, but using it as an example, having watched both players growing up, having looked at statistical comparisons, I could accept someone making a case that Stockton was better, whether or not I agree. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the hell out of Thomas. Same with the current Pistons. I love Brandon Knight. Love watching him, love rooting for him, hope he becomes a star because he genuinely seems like a good person who wants to succeed really badly. But I can still write about flaws in his game. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate him or respect what he’s trying to do. I’m just trying to express an honest, balanced opinion without letting my personal affinity for him cloud what I write. I think those same sentiments apply to most commenters here. Some are right, some are wrong. I think the majority love this franchise and like most of the players on this team, even if they find some of the players flawed or more flawed than you think they are.

          - As for the Monroe part of this thread, I don’t see how anyone bashed the guy. It all started with someone saying he thought Monroe’s ceiling was ‘really good’ but not ‘great’ player, and then I pressed that person on why he thought that, because I personally think his ceiling is ‘great.’ It’s a subjective thing. No one will be proven right or wrong until Monroe retires someday a long time in the future. But I don’t see how Monroe was ‘unappreciated.’ The worst thing someone said about him is he’s going to be a consistently very good player.

          • Oct 24, 20124:47 pm
            by Max

            The opening diatribe by Otis comes down to saying Monroe will not be a star when the truth is closer to that he already is a star.    And I did agree with your take on it anyway.   As for Knight, I don’t really have a strong feeling about how good he could be yet but it’s still too open a question for people to be acting dismissive of his potential.  I have no problem with flaws being pointed out though and I’ve probably pointed out his turnovers as often as anyone.        

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