Is Greg Monroe really better than John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins?

In his latest Rookie Rankings, ESPN’s David Thorpe ranked Greg Monroe No. 2. My reaction went something like this:

  • Well, he’s been playing pretty well lately.
  • Wait a minute! Blake Griffin, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are still rookies.
  • Monroe is better than two of them?!
  • No way.
  • Well, he’s been playing pretty well lately.
  • No way.

Thorpe explained:

Monroe hit for a career-high 20 points against New Jersey, while grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking two shots. It’s a sign that, rather than hitting the rookie wall, he’s starting to hit his stride as a legit big man.

In his last 19 games, Monroe is averaging 11.7 points on 60.4-percent shooting and 9.3 rebounds per game. But what about his previous 32 games, when he averaged 4.8 points on 45.1-percent shooting and 5.0 rebounds per game?

There are plenty of ways to evaluate that, but I’m going to take a cue from John Hollinger’s team power rankings. A player’s full-season stats count as two-thirds, and the last 25 percent of his games count as one-third. Recent games are a player’s last 10 or last 25 percent, whichever is greater. Using that method, here’s how Monroe, Cousins and Wall stack up (Griffin obviously ranked No. 1):



Monroe MP PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV PF FG% TS%
Total 24.8 7.4 6.6 0.9 1.0 0.5 1.0 2.4 52.3 54.1
Recent 32.8 11.1 9.0 1.2 0.9 0.5 0.9 2.9 61.3 61.5
Power 25.7 7.8 6.9 0.9 1.0 0.5 1.0 2.4 53.6 55.2


Cousins MP PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV PF FG% TS%
Total 26.8 13.9 8.0 1.8 0.8 0.8 2.8 4.0 43.8 48.6
Recent 28.8 17.1 8.9 2.2 0.9 0.9 3.3 3.9 46.4 51.9
Power 27.0 14.2 8.1 1.8 0.8 0.8 2.8 4.0 44.1 49.0


Wall MP PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV PF FG% TS%
Total 37.1 14.8 4.2 9.0 1.7 0.4 3.7 2.6 40.4 49.0
Recent 37.3 13.9 5.6 7.8 1.2 0.3 3.1 3.4 43.7 50.2
Power 37.1 14.7 4.4 8.9 1.6 0.4 3.6 2.7 40.8 49.1

I think Thorpe is overvaluing recent results, and even then, getting a little ahead of himself with Monroe.

Look, Monroe has amazed me. He’s rebounding and defending like a mad man, and the Pistons are slowly integrating his passing ability into their gameplan. Once they fully unleash his offensive repertoire, he’ll become even more dangerous. Plus, he has plenty of room to improve his body during the summer. I already have him penciled in as my 2012 Most Improved Player.

But Monroe has to deliver on that promise before he ranks ahead of Cousins and Wall – at least that’s what I think. What I know: Thorpe knows a lot more about basketball than I do.

Let’s hope he’s right.

Tags: Greg Monroe

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