Piston of the Week: Greg Monroe


Piston of the Week (1/6/2013 – 1/12/2013): Greg Monroe

18.7 points, 12 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, 63 field-goal percentage

Until Saturday’s game against the Jazz, Greg Monroe was having a pretty ho-hum week, at least by his standards. He’d led the Pistons in rebounding in the previous two contests and was coming off an absolute beauty of a game (26 points, 11 rebounds) against the Milwaukee Bucks — a team he’s historically had success against.

Maybe even the best part of Monroe’s early-week was that he had seemed to have found a way to keep a lid on the turnovers that have been his biggest deterrent this season.

Although he turned it over just two times combined in a loss to the Bobcats and win over the Bucks, he more than made up for that in Saturday’s struggle against the Jazz — turning it over seven times, a total that even Brandon Knight scoffs at.

Saturday wasn’t the worst of games for Monroe, though. He did have the seven turnovers, but he finished with an efficient 12 point, 11 rebound double-double. The thing about Saturday’s game was that when the Pistons’ offense faltered in an 11-point third quarter, he couldn’t do a thing to kick start it.

He was constantly hassled by the plethora of big men thrown at him by the Jazz — a group that could be argued as the deepest in the NBA. Not only did Monroe have to defend two of the better scoring bigs in Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, but he was absolutely harassed by Millsap defensively throughout the Pistons’ crippling third quarter.

Monroe’s scoring is a huge part of the Pistons’ offense, and when he’s playing well, the team looks like they did in the 16-point win at Milwaukee. That wasn’t the case on Saturday, and when the Pistons’ did make their late run, it was keyed by wing scoring from Will Bynum and some questionable decisions by the Jazz.

The problem for Monroe and the Pistons against the Jazz was simple — when you clog up the paint like Utah did, it really hinders Monroe and the offense. On top of that, at least offensively, that also renders Andre Drummond as a counterproductive pairing with Monroe seeing as both just attract extra defenders into the paint.

Obviously, there are solutions to that — and Lawrence Frank went to the bench with Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye to spread things out — but as long as teams pack it in against Monroe, the Pistons’ offense is going to stagnate.

Regardless of the offensive problems the Jazz exposed on Saturday, Monroe’s ability on the boards all season has helped Detroit to 10th in the league in offensive-rebounding percentage, and as long as he’s scoring like he did earlier in the week, he and the Pistons should be able to keep their play at this recently successful level.

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