Here we are, on day five of the NBA Free Agency period, and we’re yet to hear about any offers for Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe. He’s one of the best bigs in the NBA today, yet he’s sitting around waiting to hear from any teams about his future. Why is Monroe getting ignored and should teams shift their focus to him?
The first major reason why Monroe has been largely ignored is obvious — he’s a restricted free agent. If he were unrestricted, teams would be chomping at the bit, looking to get a meeting with him. Unfortunately for them, he’s restricted — meaning the Pistons have the right to match any offers that come Monroe’s way.
Will Monroe get maximum money? That remains to be seen. A big reason we’re waiting to see is because teams are waiting for the biggest dominoes to fall before the rest fall in line. Once we see where LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade land, we’ll start seeing a serious flurry of offers going towards the next level of free agents.
Let’s take a deeper look at Monroe and why teams are making a mistake by waiting around.
Monroe has missed a grand total of three games in his four-year NBA career, and two of those were during his rookie season. Getting a center who is durable and can handle the grind of an 82-game season is extremely important. Think about a guy like Brook Lopez and if he had Monroe’s durability — sky is the limit, right?
Teams can count on Monroe and don’t have to worry about wasting their money on him. Even if his numbers aren’t quite as good as the elite centers in the league, HE’S GOING TO ACTUALLY BE OUT THERE. Would you rather have 50-60 games from Nikola Pekovic or 81 from Monroe?
In his four seasons, Monroe has been very consistent. His career averages of 14.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals aren’t going to get him into the Hall of Fame, but they’re respectable and teams know exactly what they’re getting. Isn’t that something teams would love to have? If you can count on your players to contribute at a certain (and predictable) level, you can have very specific holes you can fill with specialists.
Over the past three seasons, Monroe has been within .8 points per game, .4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and .2 steals. His worst shooting was 48.6 percent in 2012-13 and his best was 52.1 percent in 2011-12. While this points to the fact that he’s probably close to his peak already, it also points to the fact that he’s a solid basketball player who isn’t going to fall off quickly.
BUT HIS DEFENSE, RIGHT?
Yes, I know the major knock on Monroe has been his defensive (in)ability. I’m here to tell you that’s not all it’s cracked up to be. If a team picks up Monroe and plays him at center, they can protect him a bit. The fact is, at the rim, Monroe is very solid. According to Synergy Sports, Monroe was No. 27 in the league in post-up defense. He can defend the rim and act as an anchor…problem is, he’s got a similar ability to move around as an anchor.
Against spot-ups (as in when he’s dragged away from the bucket), he was No. 233 in the NBA. That’s beyond horrible and it shows that Monroe is much better suited to play the center position. If he has to shift to power forward, he’s going to face the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love — guys who will TORCH Monroe.
HE’S STILL WORTH IT
At the end of the day, Monroe can fit into any offense and at worst, he’ll need to stick close to the paint defensively. Most teams would love to have him and they’d be crazy to not float out some offers. Will the Pistons match an offer in the four-year, $50 million range? Knowing that they’ve got Andre Drummond in the paint, you’d think they might let him go.