It has been a long time since national media outlets have been this interested in the Pistons before a season has started. Most aren’t predicting the Pistons to be a playoff team just yet, but the young talent on the roster at least has generated some interest in a team that desperately needs it. Jim Cavan of the New York Times included Greg Monroe on his list of five rapidly developing young players to watch this season:
Greg Monroe – PF/C, Detroit: Throwback. In the N.B.A. lexicon, it’s a term that can be either pejorative or complimentary, depending on the player in question. In the case of third-year man Greg Monroe it’s decidedly the former. In a full 66-game schedule a season ago (Monroe has missed but two games in two years), Monroe showed progress in nearly every statistical category, and finished averaging a double-double (17.6 points, 11 rebounds) per 36 minutes. Perhaps most impressive, however, was Monroe’s increase in assists, which rose from 1.7 to 2.6.
In a league transitioning more and more to floor-spacing offenses and “small ball lineups,” the Pistons’ hoped-for frontline core of Monroe and recent first-round pick Andre Drummond might seem against the grain. Assuming Monroe can effectively operate and broaden his mid-range shooting while still maintaining his imposing presence in paint and on glass, Detroit’s latest youth movement could have old-school-style success.
Other players on the list were DeMarcus Cousins, Kyrie Irving, Eric Gordon and Ty Lawson. I will refrain from commenting on the fact that the Pistons could have two of those players if they’d just taken Lawson instead of Austin Daye. But hey, 6-foot-11 guys who have no natural position or role don’t grow on trees.