In his lottery preview, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com begins by explaining the Pistons’ needs:
The Pistons finished last in field-goal percentage defense. Any stand to reverse a two-year absence from the postseason starts at that end.
I completely agree. Surprisingly, the Pistons’ offense wasn’t half bad this season. But their defense was awful. Until recently, Detroit’s defense was its calling card. I’d welcome any moves that help the Pistons re-gain their defensive identity. If that means drafting a player who can help on that end, fantastic.
But that can’t be the only way to improve. What about developing their current players defensively?
Well, when it comes to Greg Monroe, that’s not a priority. For another article today, Langlois talked to Pistons players development coach Steve Hetzel about his plans for Monroe this summer:
“The main focus will be to get him game-fatigue shots,” the Pistons’ player development coach told me. “We worked the whole year on spot-up shooting, on his form, getting his shot down. But that is nothing compared to a game where you have adrenaline pumping and fatigue comes into play. I told him before he left, when he works out on his own, he needs to be doing a lot of conditioning and shooting drills so that he maintains his form when he’s tired.”
The article continues about Monroe’s shot and how improved shooting will help his passing from the high post. Not mentioned: defense.
Monroe was a fine defender for a rookie big man. His quick hands generated plenty of steals, and he moves well for his size, which allowed him to be effective on the pick-and-roll.
But he still needs to gain lower-body strength, which will allow him to better defend on the block, where he could work a bit on his defensive footwork, too. He also should work on his awareness, which would allow him to rotate quicker on the help side.
Those things seem very important to me. To the Pistons, they seem secondary, at best.
If you think I’ve talked about this very issue before, I have. And I’m not going to stop until the Pistons show — heck, at this point, I’d settle for say — they’re dedicated to improving Monroe’s defense.