Should the Detroit Pistons move forward with Greg Monroe or Josh Smith?
That’s a question that Stan Van Gundy will need to address soon and a topic that needs to be broken down in-depth.
Before breaking down each player let’s take a look at the lineups that played the most minutes for SVG. We’ll use what NumberFire compiled through basketball-reference.com.
1. 2004-2005 (Heat)
2. 2007-2008 (Magic)
Lineup: Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson, Dwight Howard
Three out of the five lineups SVG used from 2007-2012 featured “stretch fours” who were threats from beyond the arc. In the other two seasons SVG used a traditional power forward in Udonis Haslem and an explosive athlete in Brandon Bass.
Monroe’s game translates closest to Halsem and Smith’s game translates closest to Brandon Bass.
The comparisons aren’t perfect, but they are close enough that SVG shouldn’t feel like either player is vastly different from what has worked for him in the past.
When comparing lineups that SVG has used, neither Haslem nor Bass rated in his top five units in terms of efficiency.
In other words neither Monroe nor Smith are ideal fits for his system, but like I said, the comparisons aren’t perfect.
Monroe’s mid-range game and his ability to attack the rim off the dribble (traits that have been vital to SVG systems) are traits that Haslem couldn’t offer for Van Gundy. So it stands to reason that Monroe would probably be more compatible to what SVG is looking for at power forward than Smith.
The only concern SVG might have in shipping Smith out of town would be what he offers in versatility. Despite being a poor fit at small forward, it’s a position he can play that Monroe simply can’t.
If Smith plays for another team in 2014, the Pistons will likely play small ball with some combination of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jodie Meeks/Cartier Martin. He could also look to increase Kyle Singler‘s minutes.
Rebounding with that group won’t be a problem, but guarding dynamic scorers for the three spot might be an issue.
Although there’s no guarantee that either player leaves Detroit this off-season, it’s clear that one player will need to come off the bench if they are to coexist — which doesn’t seem like a plausible outcome for either player.
After taking an in-depth look at what Monroe and Smith can do for the Pistons next season the answer seems fairly obvious on who to retain.
Monroe is the better fit and he’s young enough that his game is sure to expand.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.