Once again, I bring you the second unofficial cyber-workout from the sunny shores Down Under. It’s only 10 days until winter starts, yet the sun is still shining high and it’s still (barely) warm enough to go surfing.
If this is what global warming means, then screw Al Gore. Keep those emissions up, boys!
Anyway, enough un-PC social commentary. This cyber-workout is dedicated to analyzing Greg Monroe, the sophomore power forward from Georgetown.
Monroe is considered by the media to be the most likely choice for the Warriors at six, despite our glut at the power forward position. I’m gonna take a look at the facts and judge if he’s worth it.
Monroe is generally considered fairly NBA-ready. While he may not be dominating from day one, he should be able to start for the Warriors and perform competently if needed.
However, since I ultimately suspect he might be a center at the NBA level when all is said and done (Especially for the Warriors) I would like to see him spend a little time in the weight room first.
Of course, when you have a guy who can come in and contribute from the get-go there are always questions of upside, especially with players like Monroe with notable flaws.
However, most of Monroe’s basketball weaknesses are fixable (streaky mid-range jumper, poor defensive skills) so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that he could jump beyond being a serviceable big man with an unorthodox game.
I wouldn’t bet the house on it, though.
Monroe is a particularly skilled offensive player. In fact, I would go as far as saying that, after DeMarcus Cousins, he’s the best offensive big man in this draft.
While his jumper (as mentioned) is a bit unpredictable, Monroe has a very nice set of post moves which he uses to good effect. His main weakness is that he struggles to score with his (weak) right hand and tends to try and overpower his defenders so he can go left – this isn’t a problem in college as much as it could be in the NBA where you don’t have a significant size/power advantage over your opposition.
However, where Monroe really shines is his passing game. Not only can he pass very effectively out of double teams, but he’s also a great passer and play-maker in any half-court situation. His ball-handling skills are also very good for a 6’11” bloke.
This makes him particularly useful to the Warriors, as he can function as a secondary play-maker to take some pressure off Curry. Monroe is also not prone to ball-hogging, jacking bad shots or other selfish play on the offensive end – a useful trait on this Warriors' team.
The other question that also has to be asked is whether Monroe, who is fairly slow and unathletic, is cut out for the frenetic nature of Nellie Ball. However, given his unique skill set for a big man, this could be worth ignoring for a second.
I’ve been watching Monroe for the past couple of years, and while he’s often maligned as a defender, he definitely came a long way this past season.
That isn’t to say he’s turned into Ben Wallace overnight. He still looks lost defending out on the perimeter – another reason why I believe he might be better suited to center as he will struggle against quicker fours who can stretch the floor.
He does, however, defend the pick and roll and fight through screens quite well – this is a useful skill in the pick and roll heavy NBA.
It’s in the post where Monroe has made the biggest strides as a defender. Again, while he’s not perfect, at least he doesn’t allow himself to get pushed around as much as he did in his freshman year. I can’t say I’d be sitting comfortably at the thought of him having to mark Gasol/Howard/Stoudemire et al, but at least I have faith that he’ll make them earn their points.
Still, I wouldn’t pick Monroe if defense was my primary concern for a big man. However, if he’s partnered with a mobile guy like Randolph or Biedrins in the front line his weaknesses could potentially be papered over.
Another facet of Monroe’s game that has improved over the past season – he averaged just under 10 rpg for 34 minutes per game.
Since athleticism isn’t a skill he possesses in spades, this clearly shows he has developed a greater willingness to box out and use his size and length.
If this carries over to the NBA, he could well become a solid rebounder for his career. Not something you would have thought about Greg Monroe after his freshman year. Good on him for working on this facet of his game.
Very much a mixed bag here.
On one hand, you have a big man with a terrific basketball IQ, court vision, and a general feel for the game not usually present in guys his size.
However, I’m a little worried when I hear stories like him reporting for the start of season out of shape and needing to play himself back into optimal conditioning. Guys like Shaq can get away with that cause they’re physical freaks. Monroe isn’t. He needs to show a greater commitment to staying fit in the offseason – hopefully Monta doesn’t take him moped riding.
As for the stories about his commitment, everyone has a different spin on them. The guy who edited my draft rundown article took the time to tell me that he was one of the most committed and driven guys on last year’s Hoya team. Others say that his drive is highly lacking and he’s not fully committed.
Watching him on the court, it seems to be a game-by-game thing. Sometimes, you’ll see Monroe playing with great intensity and hustling like a mofo – others, he looks like he’s mailing it in. This tendency does scare me and give me the odd Derrick Coleman-related nightmare.
To me, the jury is still well and truly out on Monroe. If we draft him, he’ll be competing (probably) with Randolph, Wright, Biedrins and Turiaf for front-court minutes. Nellie likes big men with his type of game so he’ll probably see at least decent minutes off the bench in his rookie season. It’ll be down to him to prove he deserves more.
Can he do it?
I suspect he may just be able to surprise us.
Hassan Whiteside: A Cautionary Tale is up next, and then I might do Cole Aldrich and leave it at that.
Let's just put it this way - if we draft Ed Davis or Ekpe Udoh, I'll probably have an aneurysm. That's all you need to know about what I think of them.