With the All-Star Game coming up, I thought today’s Freep.com column was a good opportunity to discuss who, if anyone, on the Pistons roster could be the team’s next All-Star. There are really only three candidates — Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Brandon Knight. Here’s what I wrote about Monroe:
Last season, Greg Monroe had a legitimate case that he was snubbed from the game. Among centers — and whether you think Monroe is actually a center or not, that’s where he played the bulk of his minutes — his numbers compared favorably with anyone not named Dwight Howard. The backup center spot in the East went to Roy Hibbert, but Monroe and Tyson Chandler had compelling arguments in their favor. Monroe, however, was mostly an afterthought simply because Hibbert and Chandler played for teams that were winning and Monroe didn’t.
As close as he was, I think making the game is a more difficult proposition for Monroe now. First and most obviously, his numbers have dipped this season — his field goal and free throw percentages are down and his turnovers are up since he’s been asked to do more in the offense. His case was aided last year by the fact that two of the East’s top centers, Joakim Noah and Al Horford, battled injuries that removed them from the discussion. When healthy, both are better than Monroe, particularly defensively, and both also play on better teams. On top of that, this year the league eliminated the ‘center’ position from the rosters, so Monroe isn’t just competing against the relatively shallow (and now Howard-less) group of centers in the East, he’s competing for spots with all frontcourt players.