For much of his life, Greg Monroe has acted without hesitation.
When Hurricane Katrina was approaching New Orleans and his mom wanted to stay, Monroe packed his bags and told her they should leave.
When he enjoyed his visit to Georgetown, Monroe committed despite having visits scheduled to Texas, Duke and Connecticut.
When Georgetown lost to Ohio in the NCAA Tournament, Monroe said, less than an hour after the game, he’d return for his junior season.
Monroe ended up declaring for the NBA draft, despite his quick decision to stay. That’s how he ended up with the Detroit Pistons – pressing through the summer league, struggling through the preseason and sitting through the first two regular-season games.
Everywhere on the court, Monroe played timidly. That was especially evident inside offensively, where he had an inordinate number of his shots blocked.
Finally, Monroe’s no-hesitation attitude has returned.
Despite complaints from people like me that Monroe should focus on his defense, without hesitation, Monroe spent his offseason working on his mid-range jumper. Lawrence Frank has rewarded Monroe with a much larger offensive role, a role Monroe has flourished in.
- Monroe’s usage percentage has jumped from 15.4 to 22.6 – an increase of 7.2. Among players who’ve played regularly each of the last two seasons, just Corey Brewer
and Andrew Bynum have seen larger leaps.
- Monroe’s assist percentage has risen from 7.5 to 20.7. That increase is bested just Kyle Lowry, Monta Ellis, Jarrett Jack, Ronnie Price, C.J. Watson and Derek Fisher among players who who’ve played regularly each of the last two seasons.
- Monroe’s shooting at each location of the floor is up from last year. So is his free-throw percentage. And his offensive rebound rate.
In every way, Monroe is a better offensive player. To watch him now – put the ball on the floor, shoot with either hand, stroke mid-range jumpers, skip pass, bounce pass, etc. – it’s astonishing to think he played such a small role in last year’s offense.
He’s made the jump for one reason: he plays without hesitation. His shots, passes and dribbles are all decisive. Right or wrong, Monroe appears sure of himself with every move.
The results – 15.4 points, 3.9 offensive rebounds and 3.0 assists per game – have been remarkable. It’s been eight years since another player matched those three numbers, and Elton Brand’s Clippers played at a much faster pace than Monroe’s Pistons. It’s unlikely those stats hold all season, but given Monroe’s eagerness to improve, I say that with some hesitation.
Just another way Monroe and I differ.
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