“I don’t know, maybe guys don’t care,” he (Monroe) said. “Something has to change, though. This can’t continue. If you don’t want to play, just say it. This has got to stop. It’s unacceptable.”
Assistant coach Brian Hill, coaching his third game during what could be an extended assignment as head coach Lawrence Frank attends to his ailing wife in New Jersey, called it an “embarrassment” for players and coaches alike.
Monroe was having none of it.
“This has nothing to do with Coach Hill,” Monroe said. “I understand his gesture and him trying to, you know, maybe man up. But this has nothing to do with him. We prepared the same way we prepare every game. We had enough information and we knew what they were going to do. There was no effort from us. This had nothing to do with coaching. Brian Hill had nothing to do with this today.”
Good on Greg Monroe, I guess, for being willing to speak up as a young player and assert himself in a leadership role, but my issue with the comments is they could just as easily apply to Monroe as they could to any of his teammates. The knock on Monroe dating back to his Georgetown days has been that he doesn’t play with much outward passion. As we’ve seen in his Pistons career, that is a silly criticism because, for the most part, he’s really productive. But in games like last night, when Monroe plays terribly, combined with his poor or non-expressive body language, it’s hard not to look at him as one of the culprits when the team plays as awful as the Pistons did last night. Monroe didn’t play with energy, he was part of a frontcourt that got abused by the Clippers and it was his awful defense that was responsible for this happening to Brandon Knight.
It’s at least possible that Monroe’s comments were meant to take some of the attention off of Knight, though. Because the dunk by DeAndre Jordan was so ferocious and had all the internets up all night talking, and because there was literally nothing else to talk about in this game, Knight was undoubtedly going to get bombarded about the dunk. If these comments by Monroe were an attempt to draw attention away from the dunk and change the subject, then that is actually much more impressive and better leadership than vaguely calling out other players for lack of effort when your own effort is not that great either.