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Greg Monroe gets Most Improved Player vote from ESPN panel

ESPN’s panel of experts gave their award choices, and Greg Monroe earned one of 30 votes for Most Improved Player.

Chris Palmer’s choice of a Piston is appreciated, but it’s quite surprising. Monroe showed a more well-rounded game this year, a sign of improvement as a player. But an increased attention to the less-efficient areas of his game (ball-handling, mid-range shooting, passing) at the expense of the more efficient areas of his game (offensive rebounding, interior scoring) made him less productive.

I’d argue Monroe is a better player than a year ago simply because he can do more on the court, and assuming his rebounding and low-post skills haven’t deteriorated, that bodes well for his future. But because of his change in focus this season, Monroe produced less for his team.

There are plenty of players who meet both criteria – real improvement and increased production – who are far more deserving of the award.


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  • Apr 17, 20131:55 pm
    by piston moribund


    More of the good and bad qualities of Bullwinkle are coming out.
    lets start with the good stuff.  Can score around the basket, can pass, can rebound ok, is tall, not a mutineer. consistant effort for the most part.
    Bad stuff.  cannot defend, cannot shoot from the elbow, clueless on how to defend the pick and roll, not a good help side defender, cannot jump, cannot rebound in traffic, not very atheletic.
    Basically, he need to get stronger, and learn how to defend and shoot from 10 to 15 feet out.  All those videos of him hitting the jump shots were real? Right?
    Too many shortcommings to warrant a max contract at this point. 

    • Apr 17, 20132:32 pm
      by Huddy


      2014 will be a tough year for Monroe to command max money on the open market even with improvement.  There probably won’t be more than 5-7 teams that can afford adding a max contract and there are a lot of big names coming out then.  In a different year it would be more worrisome, but his bargaining power will be relatively low.

      • Apr 17, 20133:24 pm
        by oats


        I think you might be underselling the number of teams that will be buyers though. Currently there a ton of teams with cap space this year, and you have to figure that some of them will roll that over in to having cap space next year. Pretty much anyone who misses out on Howard or Paul will have to consider it. Other teams will be looking to move deals around to free up cap space. I think there will be quite a few teams looking for players that year. I wouldn’t be shocked if that year mimics the year of LeBron with 10 or more teams finding a way to make a run at guys. Obviously I can’t project that happening, I’m just saying we really don’t know what that market will look like yet.
        Even if teams do shake up some cap space, it is kind of an odd year for Monroe. If there are a bunch of teams looking to give out max deals, they are probably going after someone like James. Would those teams over spend on other guys to make up for missing out on their targeted players, or would those teams switch to bargain shopping mode? History suggests they over spend to make certain they get someone, but you never know.

  • Apr 17, 20132:39 pm
    by Rodman4Life


    I agree Monroe does not warrant max money yet, but you’re smoking some good junk if you think he won’t get max money offered from at least a few teams.  His bargaining power is limitless: he’s a skilled big with a post game in a league that has almost none.

    • Apr 17, 20133:11 pm
      by Huddy


      John Wall, Luol Deng, Paul George, Danny Granger, Paul Gasol, Andrew Bogut, Cousins, Larry Sanders, and Gortat…those are just FAs…if you add ETOs/PO Lebron, Wade, Melo, Z-BO…Not all will definitely leave or get max money, but some that won’t get max like Pau Gasol can be seen as more complete players just not with youth.  So given all those names and the possibility of only a few teams being able to afford a big contract it is not crazy to think Monroe isn’t in a perfect situation next year for bargaining.  It isn’t about what that type of player at that age can get or has gotten, there is a difference in a year so full of talent in FA.  Even just looking at Cousins and Larry Sanders.  They are both young and producing well so even segmenting down to teams who need a big man Monroe has major competition in his own age group.

    • Apr 17, 20133:27 pm
      by oats


      I have to disagree on both counts. I think he’s done enough to show that it is likely that he can be the second best player on a good team, and that kind of guy is worth a max deal. He isn’t there yet, but given how productive he is this young it seems far more likely that he gets there in the next 5 years than not. So I think he has proven himself worthy of a max deal. I also think he is hitting free agency in one of the few years where he won’t automatically get it. Huddy is right on that point, it isn’t a given that Monroe gets a max considering just what kind of free agent market there will be.

      • Apr 17, 20133:39 pm
        by Huddy


        Yeah I don’t think he can’t get one I just don’t think we should assume regardless of play he will, and I think it is worth noting that some years are more difficult for player’s bargaining than others unless you are Lebron or a top #1 option.
        I think of it this way, if Monroe doesn’t improve or preforms worse then he is less likely he gets a max offer and we can either go another direction or get him at a better value.  If Monroe improves then he may very well be worth a Max deal and we wouldn’t mind offering him that anyway.
        @Oats your earlier point is true that speculating who will have how much money is really hard I am just saying in general I wouldn’t act as though most teams are in the market for a max player.  Even considering team purposefully moving big contracts for more space means someone is picking up those contracts and having less to spend so in a year with 10 or so big name players the lesser of those big names isn’t guaranteed anything.  Lebron once described Monroe as “the best player no one knows about” and that is the kind of thing that will hurt Monroe’s bargaining power.

        • Apr 17, 20134:21 pm
          by oats


          I agree with all that, and it is important to remember that. Monroe’s bargaining positioning is not that good that year, and in most other years I’d think he’d be a lock for that max deal. If he gets that max offer I think Detroit has to match it, but it really isn’t a given.

  • Apr 17, 20132:59 pm
    by Big Rick


    True, with that being sad we’re more than likely to be that tam that overpays for his services. I give up on trying to argue that defense is something that you can learn how to be good at. Defense is instinctual and is based on effort, ability and court awareness. It’s painfully obvious to see that Greg lacks the awareness, and often times effort to become at least an average defender. Its ironic how ferociously he drives to the basket (points) or crashes the boards (rebs) for the sake of padding his stats, but at the other end of the court he voluntarily sidesteps (more often than not) anyone driving to the basket seemingly in fear of becoming a highlight. I can’t say enough how infuriating that is to watch as a Piston fan who grew up in the Bad Boy era.

    With that being said, you can learn defensive schemes and systems but you can’t really be taught how to become a good defender. You have to WANT to play defense. Of course you can get taught some tricks of the trade like flopping, foot placement, hand in the face, but for the most part it an instinctive part of the game sort of like becoming a good to great rebounder.

    My hope is that we implement a defensive scheme that allows us to play good enough team defense that will mask his defensive deficiencies. Needless, to say I don’t think he improved as a player, to even be considered in that conversation.

    • Apr 17, 20133:38 pm
      by oats


      I think part of why he does that is that he knows he isn’t a shot blocker. A lot of the times he steps aside, and then tries to get an angle to poke at the ball cleanly. He’s much better at stripping guys going up than at blocking shots once they are actually up there. Don’t get me wrong, giving up the lane to the hoop is a bad idea, but it might be partially a side effect of him trying to get at a swipe. 
      I agree Monroe will likely never be a good, or even average defender. I disagree on the idea that he doesn’t want to play defense. I think he does, he just has a long way to go before he minimizes his negative play on that side of the ball. I think that with a few good team mates around him and a solid coach he can get to the point where he isn’t particularly harmful any more, but that’s more about being able to hide him than him becoming an average defensive player.

  • Apr 17, 20134:16 pm
    by Mark


    We’re seeing now that Monroe did improve a lot this year. But the Pistons prevented anyone from seeing it because they insisted on forcing him to play with Maxiell all year. Its hard for any player to look improved when they are playing 1 on 2 every game, because their frontcourt mate provided nothing.

    Now that he’s got a legit big man next to him, we get a chance to actually evaluate Moose individually in 1 on 1 situations, and he’s been playing fantastic basketball ever since.

    Most notably, he’s solidified himself as a legit consistent low-post scoring big man, who you can dump the ball to in the post anytime you need a basket. That wasn’t the case last year. He still got a lot of his pts off putbacks. This year he gets all of his pts creating his own shots in the post, and literally none have come off putbacks.

    We’re also seeing a big improvement in his decision making out of the post. He’s reading the defense perfect now, ever since Dre started. And to no surprise, since its always easier to read a defense when you see single coverage. vs with Maxiell when he was always doubled.

    Now when the double comes he’s able to see it coming, and find the open man immediately. And when it doesn’t come he immediately goes to work on the smaller PF guarding him in the post.

    He’s going to be a load down there vs PFs. avg 19/10 at PF with Drummond starting, I could see him being a 20-10 guy and making the allstar team next year, if we are winning games.


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    by best animal clipper


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