The Pistons actually have a player who is not in the "LOL" section of Bill Simmons' annual trade value column

Bill Simmons’ annual trade value column for ESPN/Grantland remains one of my favorite NBA reads of the year, if only for the debates it stirs up. In recent years, though, it has been pretty depressing to see the only mentions of Pistons players show up in the sections where Simmons makes fun of the horrible contracts that have no trade value. This year, though? This year is different:

22. Mystery Player B
All right, release that thought (from Mystery Player A, ranked no. 32 in Part 1). Contrast these 2011-12 numbers …

Mystery Player A: 29.4 MPG, 16.2 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.2 BPG, 43% FG, 73% FT, 21 PER
Mystery Player B: 32.7 MPG, 16.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.6 BPG, 50% FG, 79% FT, 23 PER

Slight edge to Player B, right?

OK, so let’s say Player B is a normal guy … and Player A is an unpredictable loose cannon who may or may not have just gotten his first coach fired a few weeks ago. Now which guy are you taking?

Here’s the point: Boogie Cousins gets more hype than Greg Monroe; he got drafted two picks ahead of him; his upside seems like it should be higher; he’s more fun to follow; he has a better nickname; and he’s always going to seem a little more overpowering when he has it going. In the Grantland headquarters, we’ve probably had 20 Boogie Cousins conversations and 135 moments where Jay Kang cackled, “I LOVE BOOGIE!!!!” I don’t remember anyone discussing Greg Monroe even once. I’m not even sure half our staff knows what he looks like. Just know that Sacramento would flip Boogie for Monroe in a cocaine heartbeat … and if the roles were reversed, Detroit would hang up.

Slowly but surely, national media are starting to figure out that Monroe is really good. Simmons’ analysis on Monroe is right in line with what Dan, Brian Packey of DBB and I concluded the other day: Monroe is essentially untouchable for anyone but a small handful of elite players in the league.

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