Greg Monroe’s brilliant offense, Pistons fade in loss to Golden State Warriors

It’s an absolute pleasure to watch Greg Monroe play offense. We’re not far from discussing whether he’s the NBA’s most skilled big man, and some have already suggested he’s the best player in his draft class.

Apparently Lawrence Frank loves seeing Monroe with the ball in his hands, too. That’s why, when the Warriors committed an illegal defense in the second quarter, he chose Monroe to shoot the technical free throw.

Yes, he chose Greg Monroe, a career 65 percent free-throw shooter. His other options on the floor:

Of course, Monroe made the free-throw, one of his career-high 13 makes on a career-high 14 attempts.

The Pistons went to Monroe early and often tonight, and he didn’t disappoint. With 2:43 left in the third quarter, the Pistons trailed by just three. At that point, Monroe had 23 points and seven rebounds.

He finished with 25 points and eight rebounds.

Granted, Monroe sat for 2:26 of that span. But with or without him on the court, the Pistons didn’t take advantage of his special offensive skills. In the game’s last 14:43, Monroe attempted only one shot, which Ekpe Udoh blocked, and just two free throws, which came from a non-shooting foul. That’s when the Warriors stretched their lead to 15 to win by a misleadingly narrow margin, 99-91.

This is partially Monroe’s fault. Even with his rest, he looked tired. He didn’t rebound or take care of the ball as effectively as he did in the first half.

But regardless of blame, it was a problem tonight.

Maybe Monroe needs to condition a little better. Maybe the Pistons need to get him the ball more when he’s on the court. Maybe both.

Regardless, I enjoy watching Monroe play basketball, and I enjoy watching the Pistons win games. Those two will go hand in hand, as long as Detroit doesn’t have more reliable offensive options.

Unfortunately, tonight, I didn’t see enough Monroe to see a victory.

David Lee pushes around Jonas Jerebko

David Lee gave Jonas Jerebko a lot of trouble, scoring 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Lee was too strong for Jerebko and frequently established strong interior position.

The Pistons tried Ben Wallace on Lee, but Lee was too quick for him.

I’ll score this one as a point in my running debate with Patrick about Jerebko’s best position. He’s a small forward, man.

Just to clarify, I’m talking long term. The Pistons lack interior options right now, so Jerebko might be their best power forward, and I have no issue with him playing the position this year. But I still think his best position going forward is small forward.

Monta Ellis shakes quality defense

Rodney Stuckey defended Monta Ellis well, especially in the first half. Even Ben Gordon did a decent job of bumping Ellis out of his comfort zone.

But Ellis is a good offensive player and eventually worked into his comfort zone. He scored 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting and used his speed to create passing lanes, dishing seven assists.

It’s just a reminder that Stuckey, who’s capable of defending well in spurts, certainly isn’t a lockdown player.

Tayshaun Prince scores empty 20 points

Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points – the most he’s scored in his last 27 games – but the output wasn’t exactly a sign of great things to come.

With a minute and six seconds left and the Pistons trailing by 14, Prince had scored just 14 points. Then, he made two 3-pointers, including one at the buzzer. Without those garbage-time shots, I probably wouldn’t be including Prince in this recap.

He also benefited from playing 40 minutes – his most since Feb. 2, 2011 – because Damien Wilkins missed the game for personal reasons.

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Tags: Ben Gordon Damien Wilkins Greg Monroe Jonas Jerebko Lawrence Frank Rodney Stuckey Tayshaun Prince

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