When I analyzed Greg Monroe after the draft, I saw a pure half-court player. It seemed all his skills were best utilized in a slower tempo. But he got up and down the court well, with or without the ball, during summer league.
If he can play fast, the Pistons might have two excellent pieces in Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey going forward. If he can’t, they might have to choose one.
DF now: I still don’t know
If the Pistons follow that plan, they better hope Monroe can. Otherwise, a Stuckey-Monroe pairing probably wouldn’t last long.
Last year’s first round pick, Austin Daye, rarely saw the court because his strengths are undoubtedly on offense and his weaknesses are more obvious at the defensive end. This year’s first round pick, Monroe, could be described similarly.
The assumption is Monroe will have to play some simply because the team is thin up front. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case — if he doesn’t show that he’ll battle defensively, it’s conceivable he could lose minutes to the Ben Wallace-Jason Maxiell-Charlie Villanueva group (assuming Charlie V. is more focused defensively this year). I hope it plays out differently, but it’s rare a Pistons rookie earns big minutes his first season.
PH now: Yes he will
After two DNP-CDs to open the season, it looked like Monroe would experience a repeat of what happened with Daye last season – being glued to the bench in favor of limited veterans.
Instead, Monroe took the advice of coaches, focused on defense and rebounding, earned minutes and then continued to earn more by – surprise – working hard and playing the role he was asked to play. Monroe was no worse than the third best rookie in the league this season. He was an absolute steal in the draft, and he was the single-most exciting thing about this Pistons season.