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Greg Monroe’s defense will be fine

My column today for the Detroit Free Press:

Rather than chastising Monroe for not putting in proper effort defensively, isn’t it possible that he’s playing hard, but just lacks the awareness and instincts required for great defense?

Expecting Monroe or any player to make up for a skillset they don’t possess by just trying harder isn’t necessarily fair, particularly for a player like Monroe who, by all accounts, works very hard at his game.

Monroe is far from useless defensively. Although his feet aren’t as quick as other bigs in the league, he does have quick hands and is proficient at stripping the ball from opposing players as they go up for shots (something Karl Malone was the king of). Monroe also averages 1.2 steals per game for his career and 1.3 per game this season, very good for a big man. This season, the only bigs who get more steals per game than Monroe are DeMarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin, Joakim Noah and LeBron James (depending on whether you consider him a power forward or small forward at this point).

The solution to Monroe’s defensive woes is an easy one — pairing him with a healthy Andre Drummond for big minutes next season.

Andre Drummond has made far more useless defensive players — Charlie Villanueva, Will Bynum and Austin Daye — seem competent when playing with them this season. He’ll do wonders for Greg Monroe‘s defense next season. Nothing to worry about here.

101 Comments

  • Mar 15, 201310:15 am
    by Brigs

    Reply

    That is the exact reason why I don’t worry about monroes defense, drummond will make him look good. The only thing I wonder about is if Monroe doesn’t develop that mid range jumper, the offense will be clogged up if we got both big men scared to move away from the rim.

    • Mar 15, 201311:44 am
      by oats

      Reply

      But Greg isn’t afraid to move away from the rim. He played out of the high post in college, and is aware of what that position does to improve passing angles. He’s also decent at putting it on the floor and driving to the hoop, something he’ll do from that high post spot. Drummond doesn’t seem that afraid of it either. He comes out to set screens frequently, although I should admit that he does so in order to roll back to the hoop. Greg is also a solid pick and roll guy, so who ever plays point needs to know how run the pick and roll properly. The team should also have shooters along the perimeter to help keep defenses from closing in too much.

  • Mar 15, 201310:19 am
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Ahhhh yes next season. How many months away is that again? It can’t come soon enough for my liking. I am a believer that Drummond will offset Monroe’s defensive woes but feel that if we can somehow snag Otto Porter to slot in with those 2 then Greg’s woes will become even smaller. Also if we can snag Porter then i wouldn’t mind seeing Oladipo with them at SG. Either of those 2 will improve our defence 10 fold.

    • Mar 15, 201312:34 pm
      by Jon

      Reply

      how do you plan on getting porter and oladipo

      • Mar 15, 201312:52 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        I assume that was supposed to say “if we can’t snag Porter”

        • Mar 15, 20131:03 pm
          by G

          Reply

          I’m not assuming anything. Dude a couple comments down also said something about getting Porter AND Oladipo. Why not throw in McLemore too and go for the trifecta?

          • Mar 15, 20132:28 pm
            by tarsier

            I guess I have a more optimistic view of people’s intelligence.

          • Mar 15, 20132:49 pm
            by G

            That was your first mistake

      • Mar 15, 201310:41 pm
        by gmehl

        Reply

        I obviously meant if don’t get one guy (Porter) then go after the other (Oladipo)

  • Mar 15, 201310:21 am
    by Anthony

    Reply

    Exactly my thoughts when it comes to his defense. However, what worries me is his sudden urge to complain after every no call. I don’t remember him ever being the complainer, but it seems that this year he “expects” to get calls and just complains when he doesn’t. I think if he develops that 15ft shot, it will open up his offense and hell score alot more, and get way more calls when he bangs down low. Not to mention open up the paint for Andre to throw down some vicious dunks.

  • Mar 15, 201310:23 am
    by Blocks by Dre

    Reply

    Hope you’re right with this. I’m a non believer when it comes to Monroe’s defense because of what I’ve been saying: to slow to run with perimeter 4′s and not strong enough to go against most Centers. If he bulks up in the summer and becomes more quick both problems would be solved and we wouldn’t have to worry about Dre shouldering the entire load on Defense. If it works out then great but if not then after next season we need to find a trading partner for Moose.

    side note: I’ve seen a few people here suggest we should trade Monroe for Love…why on Earth would the Wolves accept that? Stop it guys. Lets try and be a little more realistic.

    • Mar 15, 201310:27 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      If we select Anthony Bennett that could make Monroe expendable. If that happen what would Monroe be worth??

      • Mar 15, 201311:29 am
        by Blocks by Dre

        Reply

        I’m hoping we get Otto and Victor, and still like the idea of getting Burke If we slide in the draft and frustratingly start winning during tanking season

        • Mar 15, 201312:52 pm
          by G

          Reply

          Again, how do we get 2 of the top 6 draft picks when we only have 1 first rounder?

    • Mar 15, 201310:43 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      I have said this before, but I do not understand who all of these “perimeter 4′s” are supposed to be.  There are simply not a lot of big guys shooting 3′s in the league.  Griffin, Duncan, KG, David Lee, Boozer, Gasol, Aldridge, Milsapp, David West, Ibaka, Z bo…not a lot of upper level PFs are perimeter shooters and a lot of the ones that are like Dirk and Kevin Love give everyone problems defending because of how hard it is to defend jumpers and fade aways from 7 foot dudes (same reason Rasheed was successful).  Some of these guys do shoot mid rangers well but Monroe isn’t THAT slow that he can’t stay with his man between the paint to 10-12 feet from the basket especially considering Drummond will be commanding a lot of the paint area.  Most of the teams stretching the floor are putting SFs at the PF spot and every team has to adjust to that not to mention most PFs have trouble keeping up with a SF.
       
      I agree that he has trouble with centers, but really the awareness thing makes a big difference as far as staying with your man and help defense, which is where he often messes up and that can come with time.

      • Mar 15, 201311:21 am
        by G

        Reply

        Here are a list of stretch 4′s:
        Melo
        Nowitzki
        Ryan Anderson
        Patrick Patterson
        Ilyasova
        …I GUESS you could say Marcus Morris…

        And that’s it. 

        • Mar 15, 201311:24 am
          by Blocks by Dre

          Reply

          Bosh? Clark? Smith? Tobias Harris? Your list is lacking there buddy

          • Mar 15, 201311:25 am
            by Blocks by Dre

            And let’s not forget the other Morris twin and Donatas.

          • Mar 15, 201311:33 am
            by G

            Bosh is a stretch 4? How many 3′s does he take a game. Which Clark are you talking about? And by Smith, I hope you don’t mean Josh Smith, because he SHOOTS the outside shot but doesn’t MAKE the outside shot.

          • Mar 15, 201311:38 am
            by Blocks by Dre

            Smith averages a 3 a game and hes hitting 32% of them this year so the Smith taking 3′s hate needs to stop at least thus season. Bosh can hit the open 3 and takes a lot of jump shots to clear the lane for Wade/Bron, Earl Clark from the Lakers definitely hits 3′s tho he’s been hit or miss just recently.

          • Mar 15, 201311:38 am
            by G

            Sure, Donatas is in there, but Markeiff Morris? Seriously? Dude shoots 29% from 3.

          • Mar 15, 201311:41 am
            by Blocks by Dre

            29% is better than 0% and he’s young so I can definitely see that percentage jump in the right direction eventually 

          • Mar 15, 201311:45 am
            by G

            Bosh averages less than 1 3 per game & shoots 22%, Josh Smith shooting 32% is below league average and doesn’t really shoot well from anywhere except right at the rim, like Monroe.

            Earl Clark I missed because he’s listed at SF even though LA plays him a PF. So add him to the list, sure. 

          • Mar 15, 201311:49 am
            by oats

            32% is not enough to justify taking them, especially for a guy who shoots 77% at the rim. Please let Smith take 3s, he won’t beat you there but he can beat you if he removes all jump shots from his game. Morris shooting 29% is terrible, so again let him take those shots.

        • Mar 15, 201311:28 am
          by Huddy

          Reply

          I would add Love (when not hurt), but I agree its a short list and even within this list Melo is the kind of SF playing PF I mentioned gives anyone trouble, Patterson take 1 3 a game, Ryan Anderson is a situational bench player…its not something to base a PF’s defensive ability on.

        • Mar 15, 201311:48 am
          by Huddy

          Reply

          29% is better than 0%??? What kind of argument is that?  Players should be shooting from where they can score efficiently.

          • Mar 15, 201312:05 pm
            by G

            Yes, that argument was pretty funny. Stuckey is a dangerous scorer, because 39 FG% is better than zero. 

            Look, if I’m Monroe guarding Markeiff, I’ll leave him some space unless he’s at the top of the key (40%). Other than that the guy is a terrible shooter, and NOT someone I’d consider a perimeter threat. 

          • Mar 15, 20132:33 pm
            by Blocks by Dre

            29% means at least he can hit them so you have to guard him outside the paint. And like I said he can develop that shot he’s only in his second year and while its not a guarantee he should be able to improve. My argument is that there are stretch 4′s and Monroe is going to have to get better at guarding them. Markieff hitting 3′s means he has a jumper and I’m sure it says that in his scouting report. While he may be more efficient inside (who isn’t) you still have to guard him 

          • Mar 15, 20132:45 pm
            by Huddy

            I would bet if you asked his coach 29% would mean less that he can hit them and more that he shouldn’t be taking them, who in the world thinks shooting 29% from somewhere means you have to be able to defend them out there.  There are stretch 4s…but based on the majority of the shooting percentages and the number they even take with those bad shooting percentages no it is not something that we should be worried about for Monroe.  Everyone is playing defense outside of the paint…you aren’t allowed to just stand in the paint the question is how much should anyone care about a PF getting all the way out to the 3 pt line and it is very little because that is a VERY small aspect of the game for these guys.  Nobody is bodying up Markieff Morris at the 3 pt line shooting 29% and Monroe doesn’t have a problem guarding a guy one on one from mid range he has a problem losing his man on screens and getting bullied inside.
             

          • Mar 15, 20132:56 pm
            by G

            Check Markeiff’s shot chart – he actually hits a decent rate of 3′s from the top of the key, but no where else. RIGHT NOW he’s a bad shooter. Again, we’re talking about a guy who averages less than 1 made 3 per game. Really?

        • Mar 15, 20131:00 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          I don’t think a “stretch 4″ has to be someone who hits lots of 3s. Just anyone who can hit from 15-20 feet. And typically someone who can hit 3s if need be. So that adds guys like Millsap, West, Granger, LeBron.

          Also, how in the heck did you miss Kevin Love? 

          • Mar 15, 20131:06 pm
            by G

            He’s not playing, I only looked at this year. And per Patrick’s SB Nation article, stretch 4′s are PF’s that shoot 3′s well like Sheed, Cliff Robinson and Terry Mills.

          • Mar 15, 20131:07 pm
            by G

            The reason being, a 15 footer doesn’t really “stretch” the defense. You can have both feet in the paint and still contest a 15 footer. 

          • Mar 15, 20131:19 pm
            by oats

            Tarsier’s definition should add Brandon Bass. Still, Monroe is good against that mid range jump shot, so the only way stretch 4 would be a problem is if you use 3 point shooter as the definition of stretch 4.

          • Mar 15, 20132:00 pm
            by Huddy

            Theres no way Granger is a 4 and Lebron can shoot the 3 as well as most of the guys already mentioned he just isn’t worth complaining about someone not being able to guard because no one can.  Like G said 15 feet doesn’t stretch the defense, and i would add especially because you can’t camp in the lane anyway so guys are within a couple of feet of the mid range area while defending anyway, so not really stretching.  Big guys hitting jumpers usually happens because of defense collapsing on a drive leaving them open, which is more of an awareness issue than speed.  Obviously speed can help get out there after you collapse, but not a lot of elite PFs have that speed and really the rest of the team playing better defense reduces the chances of needing to collapse.  
             
            The inefficiency issue is really huge for this debate.  People like Josh Smith who can shoot but do so at a low percentage or Serge Ibaka starting to take some outside shots or Blake Griffen adding a jumper, they are all much more efficient and better assets to their teams at the rim.  Becoming or playing like a stretch four really isn’t a positive for their team when you factor in efficiency.  The kind of guys who hurt defenses consistently from the outside are very few and far between and really are the kinds of players you can only limit regardless of how good a defender you are (melo Lebron Dirk Love). 

      • Mar 15, 201311:22 am
        by Blocks by Dre

        Reply

        Sad, every PF you just named has at the very least a 15 foot jumper except Boozer and Griffin and they can both shoot better than Monroe from there. Ibaka has been hitting 3′s this season so don’t know why you’re mentioning him…not to mention there’s Bosh who can hit 3′s, Earl Clark, Carmelo who plays the 4 is top 3 in 3′s this season. Josh Smith gets ripped on for taking three’s but he makes them as hes averaging a three pointer a game.  Blake has been shooting the ball too that would have been your only argument but the games i watch he hits them better than Moose. Monroe can’t and hasn’t really proven he can defend anything outside of getting a steal a game. I don’t think Greg can defend a jump shot outside of 10 feet and all of the players you named can do at the very least that.

        • Mar 15, 201311:42 am
          by Huddy

          Reply

          Ibaka makes .3 3s a game…thats why i mention him.
           
          Josh Smith shoots 32% from 3 and makes 1..so yeah he makes one a game..very inefficiently
           
          Bosh shoots 22% from 3 and makes .2 per game..another great example
           
          Earl Clark is kind of decent shooting 34% from 3 and makes half of a 3 per game
           
          Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris average less than 10 points on awful teams not exactly top PF competition.
           
          So were down to Melo who I specifically addressed as a non traditional PF that gives EVERYONE problems on defense obviously.  You can add Lebron, but if you are basing defense on Lebron and Melo no one will satisfy you.  
           
          The whole point is that the Perimeter PF game is overstated.  the 10-12 foot defense is much more likely to be aided by not having to sag to the middle making up for having a 6’7″ center in Maxiell starting.  Thats the point being made…Monroe really doesn’t need to defed 3 pt shooters and keeping in the mid range shouldn’t be a bid deal..when you watch him play he has trouble losing his man not just simply being too slow to keep up with them.
           

          • Mar 15, 201311:50 am
            by G

            Yes yes yes. Stop focusing on these stretch 4′s as a defensive problem for Monroe. Least of my worries. He needs to work on switching so that WHEN he gets beat he can get in the passing lane and stop the easy dunk, and improving his foot speed so he doesn’t get beat quite so much.

        • Mar 15, 201311:52 am
          by oats

          Reply

          Monroe is actually really good at defending mid range jumpers. It’s one of the few things he does well on defense. Citing Bosh as a perimeter 4 to give Monroe problems doesn’t make sense. Where Monroe sucks is defending the post, not mid range jumpers. Zach Randolph will give him much more of a problem than Bosh will, unless Bosh remembers he is actually pretty good in the post. Still, it’s not the stretch 4 part of his game that is problematic.

          • Mar 15, 201311:57 am
            by Huddy

            Seriously based on most of these stretch 4 shooting percentages you might as well let them take shots especially since many of them only shoot them wide open and still are making less than one a game.

          • Mar 15, 201312:33 pm
            by oats

            He seems to miss why there is so much hate for Josh Smith taking 3s. Partially it’s that he is bad at it, but mostly it’s that he shoots 77% at the rim. Josh Smith should never take jump shots anywhere because he is really bad at it, but really good at scoring in the paint. I want most of these stretch 4s taking jumpers. Yes please, keep taking bad shots.

    • Mar 15, 201311:14 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      The Monroe-for-Love suggestions do not assume that is the whole deal. There would be some minor sweeteners thrown in for the wolves. But Monroe would be the centerpiece.

      More importantly, of course Minny wouldn’t normally do the trade (well maybe they would because they’re the Wolves, but it would normally be a bad deal).

      The reason it comes up is because Minnesota and love clearly have a lot of tension between them. When his deal runs out it is highly improbable that he’ll stick around.

      How much better do you honestly think they could do in a deal than bringing back Monroe (plus minor assets)? The only player I can think of that it would make more sense for them to try to get would be Anthony Davis. But I doubt the Pelicans take that deal.

      • Mar 15, 201311:27 am
        by Blocks by Dre

        Reply

        That would make sense. Mi roe and other players and assets would be enough, I’ve just seen a few where it was Monroe straight up for Love and that would be amazing if we somehow pulled that off!

  • Mar 15, 201310:32 am
    by GEORGIO

    Reply

    I wonder about Monroe’s stubborness. He refused to even shoot the jumper against the Clippers and Golden State. I think of his first 8 missed shots he took 1 jumper, at the Clippers he didn’t take any. It seems to me that against the tall athletic centers he would start out shooting the jumper, hopefully making a few, so that his pump fakes actually gets the defender off balance so he can drive past them cleanly and have a chance to finish at rim. Now he fakes and fakes and no one bites so he just drives anyway right into the teeth of the defense only to take a very contested shot or have his shot blocked. He can shoot the jumper, he just needs to trust it and do it more often. 
     

  • Mar 15, 201310:59 am
    by Vic

    Reply

    Great article. I have no concerns about his defense either.

    However as others have said he does need to grease that jumpshot to open up the floor… And he needs to stop complaining on every play. That’s annoying.
    Drummond and Porter are more than enough to help him on defense. 

    • Mar 15, 201311:32 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      He also needs to stop yelling and 1 after every shot. He sometimes even says it when his team mates shoot with annoys the hell out of me.

      • Mar 15, 201311:39 am
        by Blocks by Dre

        Reply

        Same here! I thought I was the only one who felt that way I’m not a fan of that neither

        • Mar 15, 201311:51 am
          by Mark

          Reply

          +1. I’m beyond annoyed with that. He forces up shots into triple coverage, and then blames the ref when he can’t convert. Meanwhile, his man is already down at the other end dunking.

          I’m beginning to see his “great IQ” as being nothing but a myth. Just because you can make nifty passes doesn’t mean you have a high IQ. He plays very dumb ball on both ends. Especially in crunch time. 

        • Mar 15, 20131:17 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Nobody likes the “and 1″ calls. Just imagine the blow back if someone like LeBron did that. Hopefully he eventually stops doing that nonsense.

      • Mar 15, 201312:03 pm
        by vic

        Reply

        exactly, i was going to mention that tooo. i understand some guys talk to self-motivate, but save that for when you actually make the shot PLEASE!

  • Mar 15, 201311:06 am
    by G

    Reply

    I’ll stop having concerns about his defense when the Pistons start 3 PLUS defenders at other positions. Drummond will help big time, but they need some perimeter D too or Monroe will never be in the right place. He’s a decent enough on the ball defender, but his team D is putrid.

     

  • Mar 15, 201311:49 am
    by Mark

    Reply

    no, steals do not = good defense. 

    I agree Monroe’s problems are mostly instinctual, IQ, focus, awareness, etc. idk how you expect a player to suddenly learn those instincts. Defense is a mindset. Either you have it or you don’t. Monroe doesn’t have it.

    Could he eventually learn to? Maybe, but its certainly not guaranteed that he ever will. So I disagree completely that he will be fine. Because its more likely than not that he won’t.

    Drummond will cover for him, sure, but the ultimate goal isn’t to hide Monroe defensively, its to be a great defense overall and win championships. Thats hard to do when you have a player who not only contributes nothing on defense, but causes your best defenders to have to take away from their own impact by expending effort to cover up for him. Thats not a recipe for success. Thats a recipe for getting a bad defender a big contract, by creating a mirage that he’s actually a good defender, at the expense of his teammates.

    No thank you. I’ve given Monroe 3 yrs and he’s shown no improvement on defense, or in his jumpshot. If I don’t see anything after 3 yrs, thats a good indicator its probably not happening. I do think we will be a very good team with Monroe/Drummond together, just off talent alone, but in terms of playoff success, I just don’t see us doing much longterm with Monroe. 

    Not just because of his defense, I’m starting to not like his offense either. No jumpshot, holds the ball way too long, stops the flow of the offense, makes bad decisions out of double teams. He’s starting to remind of Isolayshaun, except Tay at least made sound decisions out of the post. Monroe just forces up bad shots into triple coverage and plays too much damn hero ball. Really fed up with him

    • Mar 15, 201311:59 am
      by G

      Reply

      Pau Gasol. Bad defender, key piece on 2 championship teams. Rip Hamilton, 1 champ. Chris Bosh, 1 champ. Ray Allen got a championship in Boston, Dallas got a ‘ship despite their best player being an atrocious defender…

      And I’d lay off the offense too. Who is he passing to on this team? Monroe doesn’t have the offensive game to carry a team, but he’s being asked to do just that. Just because he’s not an offensive stud doesn’t mean he can’t be a useful piece. 

      • Mar 15, 201312:10 pm
        by Scott Free

        Reply

        He should kick out to Calderone or Knight.  He’s an excellent passer, but not when he’s committed in the post.

        • Mar 15, 201312:44 pm
          by G

          Reply

          Right, if they’re open. Which they aren’t if Detroit is running iso Monroe.

          • Mar 15, 20132:27 pm
            by Scott Free

            Funny, it works for other teams.

          • Mar 15, 20132:52 pm
            by Huddy

            What works on other teams? passing to guys that aren’t open?
             
            Monroe averages more assists than most PFs in the league and that includes passing to Jose and Knight, but how long has he played with Jose?  How many games has Knight missed since that time?  its not like theres some huge sample size of to point to where Monroe ignores his guards we have been a poor outside shooting team, which we need to improve.  Monroe draws attention from both big men because Maxiell has sucked so bad meaning guards don’t need to sag off Jose and Knight.

      • Mar 15, 20131:07 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Dirk is actually an above average defender. He doesn’t look it. But his man just rarely gets good shots. Historically, his teams have typically been around 15 ppg better with him on the court than off. That’s not all offense.

        • Mar 15, 20131:28 pm
          by G

          Reply

          I don’t know where you found that stat, but that’s not what I see. I see the Mav’s being +3 defensively with him off the court vs. on the court, and I see a history of him getting poor defensive ratings. What he does get comes from him blocking jump shots of shorter players.

          Anyway, check the tape. He has the same problems as Monroe – lack of awareness off the ball and slow feet. He’s decent at guarding the jumper, mainly because he’s 7ft tall.

          • Mar 15, 20132:32 pm
            by tarsier

            That’s because you are looking at this season.

            I am talking about the last several years. Heck, he’s probably been playing well for under a month so far this year. 

          • Mar 15, 20133:05 pm
            by G

            I’m not looking at this season, I’m thinking about Dallas being the worst defensive team in the league before Chandler came along, about them having to have a rim protector in the game, about them picking up Marion so they could throw Dirk on the perimeter to play defense instead of getting beat up inside.
             

        • Mar 15, 20131:29 pm
          by G

          Reply

          The reason his man doesn’t get many points is because they are able to hide him defensively. It’s the same reason Rip didn’t look as bad as he actually was when he played here.

      • Mar 15, 20132:09 pm
        by Mark

        Reply

        Terrible comparisons. First of all, ALL of those players you listed were better offensive players. So they can afford a little less defense, when they are so effective on offense. Plus, ALL of those players are better on defense too. 

        So idk how you compare Monroe to a list of players who are better offensively and defensively. Just does not compute.

        If Monroe could be as unstoppable on offense as Dirk, Pau, Ray, and Rip were in their primes…he could be the worst defender ever and I’d be ok. Because he’d be giving you so much on offense. But Monroe doesn’t do that much on offense, and routinely gets shut down by good defensive bigs.

        Dirk/Pau may not give you anything on defense, but they rarely ever get shut down on offense.
         

        • Mar 15, 20132:37 pm
          by G

          Reply

          That is some funny stuff.
          a) Ray Allen, probably better on D than he gets credit for, but still bad. Dirk, Pau and Rip were definitely WORSE than they get credit for, and definitely BAD.
          b) Yes, all those guys were better than Monroe offensively. They’re the first ones that came to mind. I can broaden the list to guys like Aguirre, Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc, Derek Fisher, Jason Terry, JJ Barea…
          c) Yeah, Pau & Nowitzki get shut out. Remember the 2007 playoffs? Dirk – 8 pts in game 6 vs. the Warriors. Look at Pau when he was with Memphis – more comparable to Monroe, since there were fewer decent players on that team.

           

        • Mar 15, 20132:54 pm
          by Anthony

          Reply

          “If Monroe could be as unstoppable on offense as Dirk, Pau, Ray, and Rip were in their primes…he could be the worst defender ever and I’d be ok. Because he’d be giving you so much on offense. But Monroe doesn’t do that much on offense, and routinely gets shut down by good defensive bigs.”

          The key word you said there was “in their prime.” Monroe is 21 years old. He’s got at least 3 more years of improvement before he hits his “prime” and I think he will get there. But again. You can’t expect a one and done post player to come to the NBA and after 3 years in the league be at the best of their game.
          Also, he routinely gets shut down by good defensive bigs? Well that’s why they’re good defensive bigs. If he tore them up every time he’d be a superstar. Doesn’t by any way mean that he isn’t going to be good. He’s gonna be a good player, he has the heart and work ethic to get it done. Just because he looks non- chalant while playing, doesn’t mean that’s how he is. 

          • Mar 15, 20133:13 pm
            by G

            He put 26 on Emeka, 19 on Biyombo, 23 on Lopez (who’s not bad btw), 20 on Howard, 26 on Larry Sanders, 18 on Hibbert, 20 on Garnett… 

            I agree, top tier defensive centers are that because they can stop you. But it’s not even like he gets stopped all the time like people seem to think.

    • Mar 15, 201312:11 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Steals are a start, especially since he isn’t really gambling when he goes for them. His not pulling an Allen Iverson shooting passing lanes despite knowing that if he misses he just gave the other team a 5 on 4. He often strips the ball while guys are dribbling or going up to shoot. Considering he isn’t much of a shot blocker that is a smart play.
       
      Tons of players get better defensively the longer they play. Lindsay Hunter was an offensive player in college and evolved in to one of the best perimeter defenders in the game. LeBron was a so so defender as a rookie and is the best defensive player in the game. Yes, I think James is better than all the centers that get mentioned for defensive player of the year because no one seems to notice perimeter defense any more. Guys get better, and they do so because they learn how to play defense. Monroe probably won’t ever be good, but he could definitely be ok. That’s especially true since the reason he sucks is that he is awful at guarding the post. By moving off the best post scorer he will be much less awful defensively even without making progress.
       
      The Magic didn’t win it all, but they were one of the best defenses in the league while starting Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, and Jameer Nelson. That’s 3 minus defenders on the court and they had championship caliber defense. They really only had one real run at it due to a crippling case of old for Hedo and Rashard, but their defense was not what knocked them out. You don’t need 5 plus defenders to play championship defense.

  • Mar 15, 201311:57 am
    by GET WELL SUSAN

    Reply

    Truth is only a few Stretch 4′s are going to beat you, unless they have the hot hand, and if they have the hot hand they gonna beat you any way…

    but how many can defend monroe? or get Dre off the boards?

  • Mar 15, 201312:02 pm
    by GET WELL SUSAN

    Reply

    Greg is a 15-17 jump shot away from being a beast….

    • Mar 15, 20131:10 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Heck, I’d settle for a consistent 12 footer if eh could get it off quickly. Just far enough that his man pays for cheating off him to a guy at the rim.

    • Mar 15, 20132:01 pm
      by Mark

      Reply

      You could say the same thing about Stuckey…

  • Mar 15, 201312:18 pm
    by Piston moribund

    Reply

    Bullwinkle got schooled on D by an oft injured has been of a player named Bogut who has the same vertical as he does, about 4 inches.  Most of the time when people were dunking in the lane, he wasnt even in the picture or anywhere near the rim.  Even the warriors commentators were talking about how much dunking was going on.  Imagine Bullwinkle going up against more atheletic PFs who can shoot! Not even talking about a stretch 4.  Its not really about effort, his ceiling is just not that high and he is coming up to it.  It seems to be about as high as his vertical.

    • Mar 15, 201312:26 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Bogut is still a big guy with a huge strength advantage on Monroe. Monroe can be pushed around by centers, but at power forward he will rarely run in to that problem. I’ll point it out again, Monroe is actually really good defending spot up shooters. The whole “who can shoot” part of the argument ignores the fact that defending shooting big men is what he does the best.

    • Mar 15, 20131:12 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Monroe has a 25″ vert from a total standstill. That’s no JaVale McGee but it’s pretty damn impressive.

      http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Greg-Monroe-1109/ 

      • Mar 15, 20131:30 pm
        by G

        Reply

        I’ve got a 25″ vert. That’s nothing. 

        • Mar 15, 20132:40 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          I can go up 25″ too. But only from a run. And I’m not a 6’10″ giant. Besides which, I was contesting moribund’s claim that Monroe has a 4″ vert.

          http://jumpshigher.com/average-vertical-jump
          “Average Vertical Leap of NCAA Div. 1 Basketball player: 27-30 inches”
          And that is referring to with a step. Which would put Monroe at 29″. Not an incredible jumper, but above average for NCAA division 1.

          If you really do have a standstill vert of 25″ (which I doubt, but I don’t know you), that is well above average. Not nothing. Like, probably at least the 95th percentile.

          • Mar 15, 20133:24 pm
            by G

            I haven’t measure it in a while, but I’m 6’2″ and can grab rim with both hands if I get a running start, so that’s about right. So 25″ with a running start. Put it this way – in my pick up game I get blocked unless I’m open or I throw up a couple shot fakes.

            I was comparing Monroe to his peers though. Check the no-step verts on all the centers - Monroe’s 25 is pretty low. Lower than Spencer Hawes, Kevin Love, Jason Collins, and a bunch of other guys who were deemed “un-athletic”. Worse is his max vert reach, which at 11’5.5″ is SUPER low for a 6’11″ guy.

          • Mar 15, 20135:40 pm
            by tarsier

            I wasn’t trying to claim he was an athletic wonder. But it looks like the no-step vert range for draftable guys is basically 20″-35″. Monroe’s on the low end of that, but still pretty near the middle.

  • Mar 15, 201312:41 pm
    by Ryank

    Reply

    This all sounds good until you have Monroe move over to 4 and he has to start guarding stretch players on the three point line.  We saw in glances what guys like Battier and Smith did to him.  When they move their feet, a 10-15 foot jumper is there anytime they want it because Monroe is still facing the crowd when they take it.  Drummond can’t be expected to rotate 10-15 feet out leaving his man to help. 
     
    If Monroe is going to make this work, he’s going to have to take these stretch fours down on the block and put a hurt on them…to do that means Drummond should work on his 10-15 foot jumpshot.  These smaller 4s need to be as much of a liability guarding Monroe as he is guarding them.
     
    They can work together on the floor, but they both have areas they need to improve a lot before they can be considered a great compliment to each other.

    • Mar 15, 201312:58 pm
      by G

      Reply

      Go ahead, read the comments above. Or don’t and I’ll sum them up for you:
      - There are only a few stretch 4′s in the league
      - Josh Smith is a terrible shooter from everywhere except right at the rim
      - Monroe actually does a decent job vs. jump shooters, he’s not good defending the low post 

      Yes, he does need to work on that 15 footer and pattern his game more after Pau. But stop throwing that stretch 4 thing out there, it’s not a big issue and I’m getting tired of arguing about it. 

      • Mar 15, 20131:00 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        You just beat me to it…

      • Mar 15, 20131:15 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        He does alright guarding a guy who is just posting him up. It’s when he has to switch, and especially switch back, that he gets burned.

        But yeah, I have no concern about stretch 4s. There are only a couple guys like Anderson who do most of their damage from deep. So have Jerebko, or whoever is playing the 3 guard them. Then Monroe can pick up Aminu or someone who just isn’t a major threat. 

        • Mar 15, 20131:21 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          Monroe is one of the worst post defenders in the league, or at least out of the guys with significant minutes trying to defend the post. While his help defense is worse than his man on defense, he is still pretty lousy guarding his man in the post too.

        • Mar 15, 20131:37 pm
          by G

          Reply

          Yeah, check the Kirk Goldsberry’s article on interior defenders. Monroe is among the worst in the league defending the rim.

          • Mar 15, 20132:47 pm
            by tarsier

            Yes but that study is only looking at the shots people take, not when they end up not taking shots. For instance, Monroe’s propensity to steal the ball is completely ignored. As is any time a guy gives the ball up because he doesn’t have a great shot.

            So you’ll look real good by those numbers if you get your guy to regularly take bad shots, but not if you make him lose the ball or be bailed out by someone else who takes a bad shot.

            And this really confirms exactly what I was saying. Monroe is bad at switching and horrible at switching back. That’s where his man gets so many high percentage shots.

            All that evens out to a below average defender, but not as awful as that article makes it look (just like Sanders isn’t as good as that article implies).

            And it means his shortcomings would be really, really helped by good defenders on his team.  He can do alright as long as he doesn’t have to try to cover up someone else’s mistakes. 

          • Mar 15, 20133:32 pm
            by G

            Good point on the steals. And I agree, a lot of his problems come from playing with inferior defenders at the other positions. But even if you assume the steals all happened near the basket (which I don’t, I think most of them probably came around 15ft out), he’s still a terrible interior defender. 

          • Mar 15, 20135:43 pm
            by tarsier

            I don’t disagree. I just think his problems come form having to try to help. And really, he’s so bad at it, he’d probably better off not even offering any help D. Just stick to his guy, let someone else help, and don’t give up the wide open layup to whoever he just went away from.

            My main point is that he’s not a bad one-on-one defender, at least in what I’ve seen. 

      • Mar 15, 20133:41 pm
        by Ryank

        Reply

        Don’t mistake your opinion with fact…the world is very different than your opinion. 
         
        Monroe is burned every single time he has to guard a player who can move on the perimeter.  He can put a hand up to defend a jumper as well and anyone…but a guy who puts the ball on the floor and blows past him gets a clean look at the rim everytime.  There’s no disputing this fact. 

        • Mar 15, 20134:05 pm
          by G

          Reply

          Yes, Monroe will get burned on the perimeter. This will be MUCH less of a problem with Drummond in the game. Anyway, I don’t see how that’s relevant when talking about stretch 4′s. You were talking about guys pulling up for jumpers, not taking it to the rack.

          So either you’re back pedaling from your original argument or you’re very confused.

    • Mar 15, 201312:59 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      This has mostly been covered already. There aren’t many stretch 4s in the game that are actually good. The ones that are can score on anyone, so worrying about Monroe on them seems a bit pointless. This problem is largely over stated. Plus, if they want to beat Greg off the dribble to take a mid range jumper then why not let them? The mid range shot is the least efficient shot in the game. I’m just not worried enough about that 15 footer to hate the idea of Monroe at the 4, especially considering Monroe’s inability to guard the post. I really have a hard time seeing Monroe’s defense not improving at the 4, especially since he is actually good at defending shooters.
       
      As for Drummond needing to get a jump shot, I’m not convinced. Monroe is good at the bull rush drive where he drops his shoulder and works his way to the hoop. That should be quite effective at getting his points and making those guys work on him, and it would entail Greg being the one away from the hoop. Plus, Drummond can move away from the hoop and work on being a cutter. Guys will have to follow him out because you can’t defend him sitting on your heels while Drummond is making a run at the rim. That’s why they follow Blake Griffin around despite him not being able to shoot. As such, they should be able to manufacture space for Greg in the post when they choose to do so.

  • Mar 15, 20132:19 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Monroe plays no defense, and his only real move on offense is driving to the basket for layups – which he misses routinely.

    Doesn’t that sound a lot like Stuckey?

    Honestly, the only difference is Monroe is big enough to rebound his own misses and tip them back in, which Stuckey isn’t. Which also inflates Monroes rebounding stats and makes him seem like a better rebounder than he really is. He never dominates the paint rebounding like a Howard, Wallace, Chandler, etc.

    Really, what does Monroe do great?

    You could say he’s a great passer by looking at his assists, but then when you look at his turnovers, you can’t say he’s a great passer. Thats like saying a QB with high INTs is an accurate passer. Not true if he’s passing to the other team just as much as his teammates.

    idk, Monroe’s either going to need to really become great offensively to make up for his defense, or become really good on defense and just one of those bigs who are really good on both ends, but not great on either. If he can develop into either of those things, that would suffice.

    But if he’s going to bad on defense, and just good on offense, sorry thats not going to win us championships.

    • Mar 15, 20132:46 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Nope on the Stuckey comparison. His shooting is down to 48% this year, but for his career he’s a 51% shooter from the floor. Stuckey’s never gotten above 44%. Monroe is an efficient scorer, Stuckey isn’t, so that is a terrible comparison.
       
      Also, if all Monroe is doing is catching his own misses you’d think he’d be a better offensive rebounder. He’s been decent there this year, but it is defensive rebounding that is keeping his numbers up. Besides that, getting your own miss a really useful skill. It means you are more likely to score on a given play than your field goal percentage suggests. Didn’t I mention Monroe is an efficient shooter?
       
      The complaints about Monroe’s passing misses an interesting point. Greg is still among the league leaders in Assist/Turnover ratio for big men. He needs to cut back on his turnovers some, but he is clearly a good passer for his position.
       
      You are also missing out on the fact that much Monroe’s defensive struggles comes from playing center. When he no longer has to guard the opponent’s best post scorer he will look much better, especially since that is the thing he really sucks at. He also sucks at help defense, a problem magnified by playing center. Since he will no longer be the guy closest to the hoop he will be needed to give help defense less often, and that’s not even considering the fact that Drummond will need help much less often than Maxiell does. Monroe is actually good at guarding spot up shooters and defending the pick and roll, and both of those skills suggest he will play better at the 4. Add in normal progression on that side of the court, and he doesn’t project as an awful defensive player.

    • Mar 15, 20132:47 pm
      by G

      Reply

      Well, I think it’s clear Monroe can’t be your centerpiece if you’re going for a championship, but he can be a solid 2nd banana.

      Why does he have so many turnovers? Because the Pistons lack the shooters to space the floor. He gets the ball & the perimeter D (which was probably already sagging) crashes in on him. With better shooters I think he looks to pass more, the assists go up and the turnovers go down.

      He’s got more moves than the layup man. Check the tape, he’s got a decent hook shot, a running hook, a pull up j, a face up j… He’ll need to work on that mid-range shot a bit more though.

  • Mar 15, 20132:41 pm
    by Big Rick

    Reply

    Man this arguing about stretch 4′s is starting to become irritating. Bottom like, Moose really needs to improve his game on both sides because he is far from a finished product. From the sample size of 3 years, I’m not confident that he will improve significantlly on defense. Because as of right now he doesn’t effectively guard anyone from the stretch fours to the monsters in the paint.

    Mark you made some very good points. As of right now Moose doesn’t really guard the opposition’s best post scorer, that’s usually left as a task for Max or whoever is starting at the 4 that night. Defense has a lot to do with effort, so Moose trying harder may bring forth some more positive results. As of right now the only time I see him go hard and give solid effort is when he has the ball in his hands and puts it down, dips his shoulders and drives to the whole in an unorthodox way throwing up an off balance shot and then demands a call. Of course….instincts, court awareness and athletic ability play factors in becoming a good defender. But in my opinion the most important factors are smarts “basketball IQ” and desire, and the desire is displayed by the amount of effort you put out. Coaches preach effort for a reason my friends. I’m sorry but Greg rarely shows that consistently. That’s all I ask for, just an increased amount of effort. 

    • Mar 15, 20132:53 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Max almost always guards the smaller player, not the better post up player.
       
      The effort thing is completely unfair. I don’t think effort plays much of a role in quality defense at all. Jon Barry always looked like he was giving effort, but it didn’t pay off. Monroe’s effort often looks lacking because he is a laid back guy. His demeanor combined with poor defense makes people say he isn’t putting in effort, but I’m not convinced that is the case. Some guys just aren’t as obvious with their effort, and sometimes those guys are also bad defenders. Monroe is the latter. Monroe needs to improve on defense, but I think that is totally doable. Some of that will come with a reduced defensive role as well as one that better fits what he does well, and some of that will come from learning how to play better defense. I don’t think we’ll ever watch him play and think his effort is great though, that just isn’t how he plays.

      • Mar 15, 20133:33 pm
        by G

        Reply

        Point – Tim Duncan rarely looks like he’s trying, but the dude is STILL a beast!

  • Mar 15, 20132:55 pm
    by Big Rick

    Reply

    Remember what felt like years ago when our bench unit was playing out of sight scorching hot basketball? A key to that 2nd unit’s succesbeer can all agree on was AWESOME DRE DRUMMOND; but it wasn’t because he was hiding the defensive liabilities of Daye and Charlie V. I think Drummond’s effort and excitemenareas infectious and it motivated that unit to play harder and exert more effort on defense, which led to easy buckets, and ultimately a few more wins and everyone was having fun. It’s more than a safe bet to say that Charlie V. won’t be receiving defensive player of the year anytime soon. But the main factor back then when our bench was on fire is that guys were TRYING. Whoever watched during that time frame can honestly say that they saw an increased effort from Daye and Charlie on the boards and on defense. So if Awesome DRE can rub off on Moose the same way then he will be fine. 

  • Mar 15, 20133:07 pm
    by Big Rick

    Reply

    How many times have any of you seen Moose do something as courageous as BK7 did the other night and actually contest a dunk?

    To take a step further how many times on the defensive side have you seen Moose sacrifice a foul to deny penetration or a dunk or layup?  

    Further still… How many times have we seen him shy away from contact which often leads to him yielding an easy basket to the opposition? 

    All of those questions have to deal with effort, and basically that’s something that Moose is lacking on the defensive end of the floor. 
     

    • Mar 15, 20133:36 pm
      by G

      Reply

      When he’s locked in (which practically no one on the team is now), he’s pretty good at drawing a charge. Monroe is more likely to foul if he leaves his feet, so I’m fine with him not jumping at shots. Plus, since he’s the best offensive player on the team, him getting in foul trouble isn’t smart.

    • Mar 15, 20133:46 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      Part of why he doesn’t do those things more is that Monroe prefers to go for the strip. He tends to move to the side a bit to get a better angle and try to get his hand in before the guy actually gets in to his shooting motion. He’s a poor shot blocker but has quick hands, so that isn’t a bad strategy. Yeah, he does give up some easy shots that way too, so I want him to learn to do that without stepping aside, but I can’t fault that instinct.

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