Saturday, June 7, 2014

2014 Season Review: Greg Monroe

The signing of Josh Smith not only muddied the Pistons' offense this season, but it also appears to have mucked up the development of Greg Monroe.  The 2013-14 season was Monroe's worst since his rookie year in terms of efficiency and rebounding and as the young big man struggled with a smaller role in the offense.  At times throughout the year Monroe appeared visibly frustrated with the team's play, and possibly with his role.  Monroe often sat in favor of Smith and Drummond down the stretch in the early part of the season during Mo Cheeks' tenure.  Developments such as what happened with Greg Monroe's playing time and role are likely factors in the downturn in his productivity.  However, there are still legitimate concerns over Monroe's lack of development on defense, and how his game, which doesn't stretch far from the basket, fits alongside Drummond's going forward.  For the time being, the '13'-'14 season felt like a bit of a lost year for Greg Monroe.

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18.1 15.2 53.1% 49.7% 10.7 15.4% 9.9% 21.6%
Monroe's numbers declined from last year in just about every aspect here.  Last year's PER was 19.5 and he lost two full points off of his total and defensive rebounding totals.  The biggest drop-off came in Monroe's Assist Rate, which dropped from 18.6% last season and 14.0% in his sophomore season.  Monroe did manage to improve his TS% and eFG% slightly from last season, although he managed much stronger marks in his rookie and sophomore seasons.  In my opinion, the most telling number for Monroe this season was his Usage% which fell from a career high 24.8% last season to 21.4% this season.  23 year old PFs who make All-Rookie teams and the Rising Stars challenge in both of their first two years don't normally see their roles decrease as they grow.  Yet another reason that the Smith signing set the Pistons' development back a few years.

This is a surprising step up from what his chart looked like in the 2012-13 season.  Due to his lack of vertical leaping ability, Monroe will likely always just be average around the rim.  Where he made significant improvements was on his success rate in the intermediate shooting zones.  The left baseline was friendly to Monroe this season (30/61, 49.2%), a major step forward from his shooting there in 2012-13 (20/56, 35.7%).  He also improved on the right block, as he only shot 2/22 from that spot in 2012-13.  Monroe still struggles from the true mid-range spots, and actually attempted fewer shots from those zones this season.  Monroe only attempted 9.28% of his shots from the mid-range zones this season, as opposed to 14.1% from those zones in 2012-13.  Monroe's improvement on intermediate shots, as well as his choice to take fewer mid-range jumpers were both positives from his season.

Sound fundamental play and passing generally doesn't make for a very fun highlight video.  Andre Drummond's highlights are Evel Knievel jumping over the Grand Canyon while high on peyote, Greg Monroe's highlights are you trying to explain to your grandparents how to work their cell phone.


2014-15 Status: Restricted Free Agent, $5,479,933 Qualifying Offer (via

Now that the Pistons have officially filled their holes on the sideline and in the front office, the two biggest issues in the offseason are Josh Smith's status going forward, and Greg Monroe's impending free agency.  Monroe is eligible for Restricted Free Agency (primer, for those who don't know what that means), meaning that the Pistons will have from the end of the NBA Finals until the end of June to extend him a Qualifying Offer, for the amount stated above, making him an RFA  This is the sure part of Monroe's situation, as the Pistons would be stupid not to extend the QO.  The unlikely event would be for Monroe to accept the QO and become an Unrestricted Free Agent after next season.  Monroe is due a rather large pay increase over the $5.5M per season his QO is worth.  It's much more likely that Monroe will sign an offer sheet with another team and the Pistons have to decide whether or not to match it.  In the best case scenario for the Pistons, it won't be for a max contract.  Monroe is a solid player, but just doesn't do enough to be worth that kind of money and commitment.  If the Pistons decide they aren't willing to match an offer sheet, he'll likely head out in a sign-and-trade for whatever Detroit can get out of the team signing him.

In all honesty, I haven't the slightest indication of what's going to happen with Monroe this summer.  My gut tells me that Stan Van Gundy has just been attempting to up his sign-and-trade value with all of the praise for Monroe since he was hired.  However, it wouldn't surprise me to see Monroe back and a big part of SVG's system.  The good news in all of this is that we're not looking to Joe Dumars to make the decision.  Instead, we have a much more competent management team handling things.  That's a good feeling.  If I were forced to guess, I would say that Monroe ends up in either New Orleans or Washington next season.  Like I said, I have no educated guess here.


Follow Six Championship Drive on Twitter, @Kevin6CD for easy access to new articles and my take on things I know nothing about!  I'm basically a radio talk show caller in electronic form!

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