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Greg Monroe-Andre Drummond pairing crushes Pistons’ offense, boosts Detroit’s defense

Zach Lowe of Grantland wrote about the elusive Greg Monroe-Andre Drummond pairing:

Monroe and Drummond have logged only 91 minutes together so far, and you can kind of understand Lawrence Frank’s reluctance. Detroit’s offense, already in the league’s bottom 10, drops off by about five points per 100 possessions — a huge number — when the two bigs share the floor. But the defense improves by about the same amount — the equivalent of jumping from about 20th to fifth overall. Detroit is one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the league, but when Monroe-Drummond (Mummond?) take the floor, they grab everything in sight, rebounding at a league-best rate on both ends.

Drummond is raw, and Detroit struggles to space the floor on offense as it is. Monroe is a minus defender, and the pair are in the very early stages of developing a defensive chemistry — of learning when to switch on the fly, how to time those rotations, and when to help elsewhere.

And Drummond plays with a restraint that makes it look as if he’s afraid to unleash his full athleticism, lest he accidentally injure teammates or fans in the first 10 rows. He’s a freak, and once he finds the right balance between freakishness and control, he could develop into a devastating player — and a perfect back-line complement to the ground-bound Monroe on defense. As it is, he’s still figuring out what to do with himself when Monroe works with the ball at the elbow or rolls to the rim on pick-and-rolls. He needs to learn how and when to cut off of Monroe so as not to clog things up; there’s a reason Frank uses Charlie Villanueva as a floor-spacing power forward to break things up.

Lowe makes some excellent points, and they’re worth digesting. But it’s important to remember that the Pistons’ big men are all limited, so any duo will have some shortcomings. Because Monroe and Drummond are so important to Detroit’s future – and because the present has become so irrelevant – I’d much rather they get more minutes to develop together.


  • Dec 18, 20124:43 pm
    by ryank


    Mobile app is a good thing!

    • Dec 18, 20124:58 pm
      by Laimbeer


      Won”t get any better if you don’t continue to try it. My goodness, We are talking about a 2nd year player and a ROOKIE! Give them time to learn together. It’s not like we are making a run to the Finals this year!

      • Dec 18, 20125:00 pm
        by Laimbeer


        Excuse me, 3rd year player.

    • Dec 18, 20125:59 pm
      by frankie d


      yes, the mobile app is great.  a huge improvement for those of us who access the site with our phones.

  • Dec 18, 20124:55 pm
    by bugsygod


    So the defensive coach, doesnt want to play the best defensive combination.  93minutes all year???  Just stupid.

    • Dec 18, 20124:56 pm
      by bugsygod


      Oops 91mins…smh!

      • Dec 19, 20127:59 am
        by I HATE FRANK


        less than 2 full games they’ve played together….during a season where u are 7-20….

        I HATE FRANK!

    • Dec 18, 20126:04 pm
      by frankie d


      the numbers on the offensive end may be bad now, but it is easy to imagine how the two players can compliment each other, once they become accustomed to playing with each other.
      and defensively, it is already clear that they are both dominant rebounders, and it is utter idiocy to have that capability on your roster – the ability to play two dominant defensive rebounders together – and to actively avoid using them together.
      they get killed on the boards all of the time, you have the answer on your bench, but you don’t use it?….
      what is wrong with that picture? 

  • Dec 18, 20125:17 pm
    by NickB


    Is it just me, or has the amount of time the spend on the floor together increased recently? They spent some real time on the court together against the Clippers, which I was happy to see.
    As for floor spacing problems, that might be why we also saw Austin Daye on the floor with them. At the 3, with Knight and Singler too, there are actual 3 point threats. If Kim English can break into the rotation, we could put him in at SG too, and that might be a real treat to watch.

    • Dec 18, 20129:27 pm
      by Mone


      I agree.. If we use Daye like the Knicks use Novak, he would help up out a like, because he is the best Pistons shooter..

      • Dec 19, 20123:41 am
        by jaywierenga


        since when is daye our best shooter? for his career, he is shooting less than 41 percent from the field and 34 percent from deep. last year, those numbers were 32 and 21 percent, respectively.
        in limited minutes the other night it was obvious why daye has been on the bench. his defensive instincts are pathetic. his only attribute that is appealing is his length, but what good is that if he refuses to keep his arms up on defense? he throws those long arms around, but always a step or two late due to his bad instincts. if singler had his length and athleticism he would dominate. daye is not the answer.
        i would much rather see english or middleton get some play.

  • Dec 18, 20125:23 pm
    by tarsier


    What I see is “blah blah blah… when they’re on the floor together, the Pistons lead the league in both offensive and defensive rebounding”

    HOLY CRAP!!!!! Why would you ever want to move away from that kind of duo??

    Just play them with trigger happy guys who can defend and don’t turn the ball over (sorry I HATE FRANK but Stuckey is closer to that than Knight) cuz you grab boards after misses not TOs.

    • Dec 18, 20126:44 pm
      by Otis


      Because the offense suffers to the exact degree that it negates the defensive advantage? It’s right there in the article during the part where all you saw was “bla bla bla.”

      • Dec 18, 20128:17 pm
        by Mark


        yeah, but the coach is preaching defense first ad nauseum. So you’d think that advantage would take precendence over the offense problems

        • Dec 18, 201211:18 pm
          by Otis


          You’d think. But a sample size of almost two full regulation games (small as the sample size may be) shows that their offensive weaknesses cancel out their defensive advantage. Isn’t the difference between a mediocre frontcourt that loses with their defense or loses with their offense kind of academic? These guys are supposed to be the Twin Towers tandem we’re hanging the hopes of the franchise on. Shaq and Yao Ming in their prime would have dominated the glass too, but it doesn’t mean they could play together. Sheesh. It’s premature to jump to any definitive conclusions, but that’s not a good sign.

      • Dec 18, 20129:51 pm
        by tarsier


        And that is precisely why you put them on the floor with guys who can get off shots and not turn the ball over. Maybe you sacrifice some FG%. You live with that when you have an amazing rebounding machine. Then your offense and defense improve.

        The entire point is that if, between two players, you can field a team that is tops in the league at almost anything, you do it. And then you fill out the rotation to make it at least mediocre at other stuff. 

        • Dec 18, 201211:21 pm
          by Otis


          Again, pair Shaq and Yao Ming in their primes and you’ll dominate the boards, but that doesn’t mean they can play together. I don’t care if you win the rebound battle 82 times a year if you have a .500 team.

          • Dec 19, 20129:37 am
            by MIKEYDE248

            I think the Pistons fans would be happy with a .500 team, right now we are at .259.

            If their defense ofsets their offense, that would put them even with the other team, right now we are below that, since we have only won 7 games.

            Looks like it’s a win win situation.

          • Dec 19, 201210:06 am
            by tarsier

            If any team had had Shaw and Yao in their primes, I guarantee they would’ve played them together. Maybe not always, but often. That said, Yao wasn’t actually that great of a rebounder.

            And, as I pointed out before, if you can nail down one facet of the game while using only two of your five available players, that gives you the flexibility to fill out other requirements with the rest of them.

            The Pistons have no pair of players that will make the whole team elite at 3 point shooting, drawing fouls, ball movement, perimeter defense, interior defense, protecting the ball, or any other single important facet. So dominate the boards and build around that. How could this possibly come across as a bad idea, Otis?

            Beides, dominating the boards helps markedly on both ends. Rebounding is always seen as a defensive thing (because the majority of rebounds are defensive) but offensive rebounds make a huge difference in how often a team scores (not per shot but per possession). 

  • Dec 18, 20125:27 pm
    by Ozzie-Moto


    I find this a very bogus argument ….. The sample size is way to small.  Frank has put the two of them together as sort of an afterthought and considering Max’s points are so few and far between there are other factors.    If you actually plan on them starting together and let them practice together i am sure that number would be negligible and of course if they had a SF and SG that made sense it would help as well.

    • Dec 18, 201210:32 pm
      by Victor


      Samll sample size there is. Agreed!

    • Dec 19, 20129:12 am
      by I HATE FRANK


      I agree….Drummond and Monroe to play together…(REALLY MINUTES)

      Frank will have to trust Drummond in the post or on the block, and its okay if he doesnt score but as long as he is always playing going towards the basket…

      so when team start to Front Drummond….he  can use his size and athletic ability to catch lob passes ….

  • Dec 18, 20126:41 pm
    by Otis


    Having not looked at any numbers, this doesn’t surprise me. These two could have as many drawbacks as advantages, especially with a pair of penetrating combo guards running the offense. But I’m with everyone else in saying let’s just let these guys loose together and see what we have. They’ll either mesh together or we’ll at least know that they’re not as compatible as the Pistons wanted us to believe on draft night and the sooner we find the right players to build around the better. (See: Rodney Stuckey and the hideous path this team took by trying to build around him.)

  • Dec 18, 20128:16 pm
    by vic


    Thats called: figure out what to do to make your best defensive combination work. Especially if you consider yourself a defense first team.

    Thats when you earn your coaching degree and design your team’s actions around your strength’s, your competitive advantage – rather than be below average and fail at working really hard on your team’s weaknesses. 

    But whatever, this season is all about the draft now because the coaching has made it irrelevant.

    So I did some research and changed my draft dreams.
    I want CJ MCollum, Ben Mclemore, or Otto Porter if we’re going small. That’s it.
    MCW is looking like a Rondo type pg, but he doesn’t shoot well enough.
    Shabazz doesn’t pass – at all.
    Trey Burke is great offensively but we can’t afford him and knight on defense. 
    Plus Joe D seems to have sold out on Knight as pg of the future.

    Knowing Joe’s love for combo guards we’ll end up with CJ McCollum, who will space the floor for Monroe and Drummond, and be more reliable than Knight or Stuckey as a go-to scorer. 

    MClemore is a pure SG and will probably be a better defender than McCollum.

    Otto will be an all-star Small Forward but pretty much makes Jerebko and Prince irrelevant. NOt sure they have the courage to do that.

  • Dec 18, 20128:23 pm
    by Mark


    One thing I notice lately is when they are in together our guards spend the whole 24 clock dribbling around the perimeter like a team that has NO bigs inside. I find that odd. When they are in together it should be EASY for the guards to know where to go with the ball – inside to the bigs.

    The offense is all just about chemistry and familiarity. Rebounding and defense you can kind of do just off instinct with no exp together. But offense is more about more timing and that’ll improve the more they play together.

    Like everyone, I just want to see Drummond, Monroe, Knight playing 25-30 mpg together at the same time. And start to develop some unity and consistency together. I want to see them become the go-to unit that Frank goes to when teams make runs.


  • Dec 18, 20128:56 pm
    by Travis


    The mobile app is great, but if you have to correct a typo or add a word you missed – well you are screwed.
    I type out my comment on the notes app on my phone and then copy/paste the note in the comment box.
    With that being said – the mobile app can not fix poor grammar, lack of punctuation, use of paragraph spacing, and preventing people from USING ALL CAPS.
    Drummond needs to be paired with Monroe, but I’m more anxious to see what the Pistons squad looks like after the 2.21.13 trade deadline. If Dumars can’t pick up a draft pick and eliminate one or more expiring contracts, then I’ll be upset with the direction the Detroit Pistons are heading.

    • Dec 18, 20129:56 pm
      by tarsier


      Prepare to be upset. Smart money says the team looks exactly the same after the trade deadline. Not to say a trade would be shocking but the odds are somewhere between 1 in 10 and 1 in 3.

  • Dec 18, 201210:13 pm


    this team scares me…

  • Dec 18, 201210:49 pm
    by piston moribund


    Im so scared, I cant watch.

  • Dec 19, 20123:45 am
    by jaywierenga


    hey, last i checked this team wasn’t playoff bound with maxiell in the starting lineup. if indeed these two are the future, what’s the harm in playing them? yeah, drummond needs to earn the minutes, but isn’t he leading the team in PER? not that im a huge fan of that statistic, but im just saying. deal max to a contender and let these two kids find their chemistry.

  • Dec 19, 20124:00 am
    by DG


    So correct me if I’m wrong.  What the article says is that the offensive loss and the defensive gains are about equal when they are both on the floor.  That’s without Monroe and Knight having any real time to develop any chemistry at all with Drummond and Drummond still being somewhat timid.  Sounds to me like there is nothing to be lost, but upside to be gained with pairing the big men.  The Pistons are currently 17th in the league in rebounding.

    Explain it to me really slowly, so that a third grader could understand, why you don’t develop this offensive chemistry.  Is Frank afraid of getting better as a team?  

    Heaven forbid they create a defensive identity.  It’s not like teams win with defense or anything.  Especially not teams with the Pistons history.  No, the Pistons have never had defensive players of the year or anything like that.  Sheesh…

    Even without any offensive contribution (and we know Drummond can dunk with the best of them) Drummond has the talent to be a future DPOY candidate.  Odds are he’ll score more than Ben or Dennis ever did.

    Believe me, between Monroe and Knight, they’ll figure out how to work with Drummond on the offensive end.  And if all he does is rebound and dunk, who cares?  That’s many fewer possessions that don’t end in points scored.

    Nope, don’t get this logic.  The Pistons have too much history winning being a defensive team that rebounds well.  The offense will come with chemistry. 

  • Dec 19, 20125:19 am
    by Derek


    As has been repeatedly stated, the sample set is too small.  That being the case it is hard to credibly land on the conclusion the writer makes. 

    Still we can make some general assertions of what additional rebounds would mean for the istons.  Additional rebounds mean more possessions for the offense.  Additional rebounds mean fastbreak opportunities.  Additional rebounds mean easy put backs.

    I’m sure we can agree the Pistons would score at a higher clip if they had more possessions, more fastbreak opportunities, and more put backs.  

    Conversely, additional rebounds mean less possessions for the other team.   

    Ultimately we need more than a 91 minute sample set to make a definitive statement about the Moose/Drummond pairing.  

  • Dec 19, 20126:45 am
    by Domnick


    aside from playing monroe and drum together… we need to explore trades as soon as possible… if we still want the playoff spot then we need to trade… get a good piece that can help us…

  • Dec 19, 20128:56 am


    what kills me is we will take away our advantage to match up with a team….

    Example: Verse the Nets…

    that game was clearly in our Favor…Lopez wasnt coming back in the game, Humphries was not effective, and Blanchte fouled out….

    Net play 6’7 Reggie Evans at Center, and 6’8 Gerald Wallace at PF…In the final 2 minutes….

    We could have easily went Big with Drummond and Monroe for defensive and rebounding reasons to secure the 5 point lead  … Nope we play to the Nets Strenght

     in the 30-40 seconds….Gerald Wallace grabbed three key rebounds…and it looks like Maxiell was out of position and Monroe never ever left his feet…

    No other coach would do that….

    The only times we should be intimidated by a guy playing the 4 postion to make us come adjust, their names better be Durant or Lebron…

    and i would still try to post them up on the other end…

  • Dec 19, 20129:01 am


    People can talk lack of talent until their face is blue…

    Your Future
    Monroe who many feel or felt had/has all-star potential…
    Knight has been coming into his own as a scoring PG
    Drummond in 2012 was thought to be the number 1 pick draft, and even this year many believed he was top 3 talented. Has exceeded expectations
    Stuckey was coming off his best season, and has played well lately
    Singler has been a nice surprise this year
    English had a nice camp, was shooting 50% for 3′s and hustling on defense during the season until Maggette took his minutes, now He is in the D-League picking from where he left off

    Solid players
    Prince is having is having a VERY solid Season
    Maxiel (should be coming off the bench) but he is having a very solid season
    Jonas finsihed strong last season, and started struggle this season (clearly theres more to him being cut from the rotation than his mini slump)
    Charlie V/Austin Daye = Servicable 3 point shooters….
    maggette = capable NBA player

    At some point you have to say..NO WE ARE NOT THE MOST TALENTED….But we have TOO much Talent to be 7-20 …. its not like we are playing the Heat, Spurs, Knicks, Memphis type team every other day…

    Sorry its coaching, and that coach using a system that does not play to talent of his team….

    • Dec 19, 201210:09 am
      by tarsier


      Not that it challenges your overall point, but in what universe is Daye a serviceable 3 point shooter?

      • Dec 19, 201211:37 am
        by I HATE FRANK


        In the 10-11 season he shot 40% for 3′s … averaging 2.3 attempts per-game avg 20mintes per-game played in 72 games start 16

        11-12 (FRANK ERA) he shot 21% for 3′s …averaging 1.5 attempts per-game avg 15 minutes
        only player 41 games and started 4

        … i would “LIKE” to believe that the 2010-2011 Austin Daye is closer to the kind of player we have than the Frank Era Austin Daye…

        In college he shot 42% for 3′s and no one question that he had NBA Range…

        In the 16 games he started during the 10-11 (BFE: Before Frank Era) he shot 46% for 3′s avg 26 per-game …averaging 11.5 ppg ….

        i believe 11-12 is more of a reflection of a coaching not knowing how to use players, and not knowing how to coach players up…. The 2012-2013 example of this is Jonas jerebko…

        Daye is only 24 years old… he is a shooter, but on a team with no shooting, we cant find a role for him…but you can find a role for Maggette and Charlie V?

        • Dec 19, 201211:42 am
          by I HATE FRANK


          avg 26 minutes per-game and attempted 3.2, 3 pointers per game in the 16 starts…

  • Dec 19, 20129:16 am
    by Mack



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