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Greg Monroe stands out in Team USA scrimmage … with defense

Kyrie Irving continue his ascension as the NBA’s newest superstar, Anthony Davis showing why he was the No. 1 pick last year and Dion Waiters shooting a lot, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond were both effective in the USA Basketball Blue-White scrimmage Thursday.

Monroe finished with 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting with six rebounds and two assists in 14 minutes as a starter for the blue team. But that type of production is nothing new — we know Monroe can score efficiently, rebound and pass. It was his defense that made an impression. Monroe had a steal, forced a turnover and blocked a shot in the game. It definitely helped that he was matched up against the offensively awkward DeAndre Jordan, but Monroe looked more comfortable defensively. Check out the great help defense on a Jrue Holiday drive that resulted in a blocked shot. Those are the types of plays Monroe has routinely been late rotating on in his career so far.

It was just an exhibition game, but it’s certainly worth noting and being cautiously optimistic about. Monroe has added to his game each of his three seasons — he’s obviously still improving and works hard in the offseason. If he put as much work into his defense this offseason as he has into his offense in the past, this season has the potential to be really exciting. Monroe was already a near All-Star with just his offensive production. His quick hands and ability to get steals are already an asset, and if he becomes even average defensively with the talent around him, the Pistons will be one of the league’s best defenses.

Drummond, meanwhile, filled up the stat sheet in limited minutes (after all, he has a lot of experience with that sort of thing). He scored 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting with six rebounds and a block in just nine minutes for the white team. Foul trouble did impact his minutes though — he picked up four in those nine minutes.

Whether Drummond and/or Monroe make the final roster or not, it’s great to see both getting a chance to show their immense potential on a national stage.


  • Jul 26, 201310:32 pm
    by Quick Darshan


    Monroe’s improvement might be due to Tom Thibodeau’s influence.

    • Jul 26, 201311:07 pm
      by mike


      That would be great. After working with Sheed for a week in Orlando, Thibodeau for a week in Vegas, and soon to be Hakeem for another week in Houston, I think Moose is going to come back a much improved defender next year. I already saw big improvement in that game last night. He also looked noticeably bigger, stronger, more physical and more athletic to me too. In the past, he had always had trouble against big Centers like Jordan, but he handled him with ease yesterday, and played with a swagger on defense that I’ve rarely seen. I think the Sheed influence might be paying off already in that regard. He just seemed to have more confidence on defense 

      • Jul 27, 20138:50 am
        by sebastian


        Yo, mick, I saw the same thing you saw. And, you’re right Moose and Dre’s summer training schedules have been tremendous. These dudes will be ready for the ’13-’14 NBA season with ‘Sheed right there the whole time.

      • Jul 29, 20131:18 am
        by Jeff


        Nah. Moose has never had problems with flakes like Jordan. He knows how to use his body and ground jumping bean types. He struggles against length that stays put, like Noah, Varejo, Duncan… Monroe has always been a good runner, nimble and had a good first step. He’s actually very athletic for a 6’11 250+lb player, he just cant jump. 

  • Jul 26, 201311:31 pm
    by Peter


    I hope at least one of them makes the final cut.  Players leave the Olympic team changed for the better.  Seeing how hard your competitors work and seeing yourself as part of the elite of the elite are life changing experiences.

  • Jul 27, 20132:03 am
    by Max


    OFF TOPIC:  Fug, the Pacers got even better by acquiring Scola for Gerald Green and future considerations.   

  • Jul 27, 20134:07 am
    by Otis


    I’m not 1% as concerned about his defense as I am his elbow jump shot. I might be able to live with his shaky defense (given the plus defense we have in our other bigs) so long as we can space the floor adequately enough to run an effective offense. But if this is a stellar defensive team that can’t space the floor and struggles to score baskets, something has to give. And by “something” I mean Greg Monroe, and by “give” I mean be traded.

    • Jul 27, 20138:58 am
      by sebastian


      One keen PistonPowered commenter noted on another, recent thread that Moose should consider taking a greater number/percentage of his jump shoots from the free throw, as he has become a much better free throw shooter.
      If there were offensive sets that featured Moose from the free throw, then this would open the floor, specifically the paint and baseline areas of the floor and would also take it advantage of his passing abilities as it would create the space needed to locate cutters.

      • Jul 27, 20139:06 am
        by sebastian


        *Moose should consider taking more of his shoots from the free throw line. Not so much from the free throw extended (elbow).

    • Jul 27, 201310:45 am
      by Jens


      I agree that the Pistons at least should entertain the thought of trading Greg. I am 100% sure there were already talks his name was dropped. But the return should better be good!

      I see 2 really interesting players on the market that might be available at some point between now and the Deadline. One s Rondo, the other one is Gay. We could also talk about Nic Batum, maybe Eric Gordon. Everybody else does not make sense, as those guys are either franchise cornerstones (like Irving, Lillard, or do not really help our team, because they are not that promising (Lowry e.g.) or too old, injured or both (Granger).  

      On the other Hand we have to offer:

      -two attractive expirings (Stuckey and Charlie V)
      -Brandon Knight (although I doubt he has trade value)
      -Jonas (I doubt has trade value as well)

      I don´t think Gay is available before the Deadline, because Toronto is trying to win now. Same with Batum. Rondo might be available before, but the price is steep (probably all mentioned assets minus Jonas plus swallowing Wallace albatros contract).   

      Maybe Monroe plus expirings for Eric Gordon and Aminu oreven better Gordon and Ryan Anderson might make some sense.

      • Jul 27, 20137:17 pm
        by sebastian


        As long as “Baby Fat,” OUR boy Dre continues to get in early foul trouble and shoot free throws poorly, Moose should not be traded.
        It is simple as that, regarding Monroe’s value to the roster.

      • Jul 27, 201310:36 pm
        by tarsier


        Monroe for Gay would be an awful, awful trade. Monroe for Rondo would be a bad trade. If Gordon is healthy, I would consider Monroe+expirings for Gordon+Anderson.

        • Jul 28, 20133:01 am
          by Jens


          I agree. Monroe for Gay would be horrible. Gay only is interesting if the Raptors decide they can´t win with this Team which won´t be before the Deadline. In that case it would be a salary dump and should be possible with some package like Stuckey, Charlie V and Knight.

          I disagree on Rondo for Monroe. To get someone of Rondo´s Quality you have to pay. If you like the trade or not is another Story, but it would be the right Price.

          Gordon plus Anderson for Monroe would leave both sides with a more balanced roster.    

        • Jul 28, 20137:46 pm
          by Samuel Small


          Why do you guys persist to consistently trade Greg Monroe? And for headcases, injury prone players and malcontents? 

          • Jul 29, 20139:41 am
            by tarsier

            Probably because he is no longer a great fit for the roster. If you can improve the fit without sacrificing talent, that is often a good course of action to pursue.

  • Jul 27, 201310:00 am
    by vic


    Defense Is A Way To Spread The Floor… But Instead Of Spreading It 18 Or 23 Feet… It Spreads It 94 Feet. When You Have 3 Or 4 Players Getting 1 Or 2 Steals A Game That Spreads The Floor Pretty Effectively.    You Kno What Else Spreads The floor- Double Teams. When You Have 2 Bigs That Can Draw Double Teams And Pass, It Spreads Tge Floor


    • Jul 27, 201311:04 am
      by Vic


      Especially when 2 out of 3 are easy lob targets, 3 out of 3 get steals at a high rate, 3 out of 3 are great passers, 3 out of 3 are quick and decisive not a plodding traditional big like Yao or Andrew bynum.

      I think all these spacing concerns are Getting way overblown, especially when we have like 4 or 5 shooters coming off the bench.

  • Jul 27, 201312:27 pm
    by JB


    Foul trouble would have limited Drummond’s minutes in a real game, but this scrimmage, like summer league, didn’t have a foul limit.

    • Jul 27, 20134:12 pm
      by Who Is Us?


      What irked me was seeing that Monroe and Drummond Combined, only logged just over 20mins on the floor in a 48 minute game. There were multiple players who had that many minutes by themselves (Irving, Cousins, & Davis just off the top of my head).
      If you project their numbers out over a 30mins stretch, they both had monster games.
      Monroe 23.1pts, 13.8rebs, 4.6assts, 2.3blks
      Drummond 36.7pts, 20rebs, 3.3blks
      Obviously, calculating a per minutes stats on a such a small sample is not exceptionally accurate and can be very misleading. However, the fact that these boys were able to put up those types of numbers, in extremely limited mins, against the other best young NBA players is very promising. It just begs the question, what kind of politics were at work that they got so few mins despite obvious production.
      There were 240 total game minutes to be played by each team (48mins x 5positions) and a maximum of 14 players on each team. That means that about 17mins for everyone. Yet Monroe and Drummond only exceeded that number by 6 combined mins. and averaged 11.5 mins between them. I know that Coach K loves Kyrie and they are boys since he went to Duke, but I thought the point of the whole thing was to see who has a chance to play for USA Basketball not play favorites and big names.

  • Jul 27, 20131:47 pm
    by Crispus


    I’ve been super hard on Monroe about defense in my comments, so this is welcome news. All he has to do is become an average post defender who can play the pick and roll and our “arrows will blot out the sun” of opposing offenses.

  • Jul 27, 20133:47 pm
    by Who Is Us?


    Not sure if the impetus for this article was my comment yesterday, but thank you for giving this the recognition that ESPN conveniently ignored.

  • Jul 27, 20134:01 pm
    by Justin


    I dont think people realize how good it will be this year with stuckey and Charlie V both being on their contract years. They will step up to get paid we will have a solid year and then i hope we dont resign either of those sandbaggers.

    • Jul 27, 201311:46 pm
      by ToddM


      Yeah but… if they do play well, and Joe doesn’t lose his job, I could totally see him resigning Stuck.  He has a history of this stuff with guys like Maxiell and Bynum.

      Those two need to be gone.  Their skill sets aren’t needed.  I guess you could argue Charlie’s range is needed, but not in the wretched package it comes in.  

      • Jul 28, 20132:54 am
        by Jens


        Charlie V is a bum and HAS to go. He is only on the Team for this absurdity of a contract. With Stuck things look a little different. In 2009,2010 he was hardly disappointing but probably the best Player on the Team. I believe there there has been no one on the roster who suffered more from LF than Stuckey afterwards. So, if a lot of People tend to defend Brandon Knight for bad Coaching we should at least give Stuck the same Chance to improve with Chauncy back and Cheeks on the helm.

  • Jul 28, 20136:41 am
    by Kaneda


    All this trade Monroe talk is nonsense. Let’s see how Smith, Monroe and Drummond work out first before jumping the gun. Detroit does not have a backup center if Monroe is traded. If people think Kravtsov can come in and provide quality backup minutes at C needs a reality check. People that think Drummond can log 30+ minutes per game is also in need of a reality check. Monroe has been our best player the past 2 years. Enough said.

  • Jul 29, 201312:22 am
    by Prerich


    I said in’08, don’t trade Billups for A.I, and I speak again…don’t trade Monroe for Rondo! Pistons fans forced that ’08 trade because they wanted a “star” player…well teams in our markets (Pacers, Hawks, Sacromento) aren’t sexy picks for full fledged “stars”.  We have to make our own stars, get smaller stars that play like a team, and we will make some noise! Go Pistons!!!!! 

  • Jul 29, 20131:11 am
    by Jeff


    I don’t know who was keeping stats. But Monroe had 4 stls in the first 4mins and a block by my count. I thought a steal was awarded for the person who first knocks it away and sometimes for the person who retrieves it.. it appears Monroe was only awarded the steal he retrieved, but he was responsible for 4. 

    • Jul 29, 20139:46 am
      by tarsier


      Steals are always awarded to whoever picks up the ball.

  • Jul 29, 20139:44 am
    by Leon


    PLEASE stop with the Rondo for Monroe comments. Your taking one one of your young cornerstone pieces out of Detroit who is actually a well mannered individual for Rondo who’s kind of a nut. Think about the team you would have to have around Rondo to even be successful. Oh a team that can spread the floor. Do y’all honestly think we have that plus Rondo is not a good shooter. Don’t get me wrong I like Rondo but not for any of our bigs. Plus team chemistry is a must and I’m not sure what that guys mental state is. I mean the dude showed up to a game in a 1980′s vogue leather striped jacket and thought it was stylish. LOL. All jokes aside. Rondo isn’t the answer at all and trading Monroe is just plains stupid. I mean he’s not the most athletic but he’s better than our other bigs. Don’t get me wrong I like Dre but he’s still young. Did I mention RONDO can’t shoot?

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