- Teams: Milwaukee Bucks (23-19) at Detroit Pistons (17-27)
- Date: January 29, 2013
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
Is Greg Monroe the new old Dwight Howard?
The question probably sounds ludicrous at first glance given that D12 has the chance to one day make the Hall of Fame, whereas Monroe is playing in his third NBA season and is still developing as a big man.
But if we look at his production against the Milwaukee Bucks so far this season, it would be hard not to take that comparison seriously.
Keep in mind, the former Hoya isn’t in the same athletic class as the former Magic player, but in terms of his impact on both ends of the court against the Bucks, he’s been the real deal.
In two games this season, the left-handed center has averaged 20 points, 10.5 rebounds and two assists on 54.8 percent field goal shooting; but more importantly he’s made life painfully difficult for Milwaukee.
Milwaukee likes to run their perimeter players off screens to create advantageous situations where they curl off screens for jump shots; but if the big man steps out to thwart their attempt, they’ll dish off the ball to the screener rolling to the basket for the easy deuce.
This type of action as well as the pick-and-roll are tough to run when the Georgetown product is on the court because he not only sniffs those plays but defends them quite well. Indeed, Monroe helps out on the screen by jumping out onto the would be shooter and then quickly recovering to his man, or simply finds the perfect balance in remaining in between both players as his teammate recovers from the screen to come pick up his man.
The end result is that the player coming off the screen must settle for a semi-contested jumper or pass it out to another player camped out at the 3-point line because the Pistons’ other defenders sagged off the perimeter shooters.
In addition, in the instances that the Pistons’ center has been late in his rotation, he’s recovered nicely by contesting the shot attempt at the rim because the Milwaukee player tried to get all the way to the basket. So far this season, Milwaukee has only converted 55.3 percent of their shot attempts directly at the rim when Monroe is on the court, per NBA.com’s advanced stats tool.
Monroe poses a conundrum for the Bucks: continue to attack him and take contested mid-range shots and attempt some difficult looks at the basket, or pass out to the perimeter for 3-point looks on a team devoid of true pure shooters.
Regardless of the strategy, it’s been difficult for Jim Boylan’s group this season against Detroit. NBA.com’s advanced stats tool tells us that when Monroe is on the bench, Milwaukee scores 112.3 points per 100 possessions, but when he is on the court, the figure nosedives to 89.2 points per 100 possessions.
In other words, Greg is the difference between the best and worst offense in the league for Milwaukee when matched up against Detroit.
On the other side of the ball, the third year big man has been just as terrorizing.
His assist numbers against Brandon Jennings and company may be low, but that’s a little deceiving. The Pistons have fed him the ball on the block and he’s found cutters, open shooters and even ran a few quick hand offs with his teammates that all led to high percentage shots as well as some scores. On a few occasions, his passes led to other players getting fouled, or helped set up an assist.
The reason he’s drawn so much attention from the opposing coaching staff is rather simple: they cannot stop him.
Whether it’s in the post, pick-and-roll or on the boards, Monroe has simply been able to get whatever shot he wants against Milwaukee.
Per NBA.com’s advanced stats tool, with Monroe on the court, Detroit scores 116.3 points per 100 possessions on 49.1 percent shooting, but with their prized big man lounging on the bench, the Pistons produce an anemic 83.6 points per 100 possessions on 38.3 percent field goal shooting.
No matter how you slice it, Greg Monroe is a game changer of the highest order whenever the Bucks are involved.
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Statistical support provided by NBA.com.