ESPN’s draft expert Chad Ford gave out grades to all thirty NBA teams for their draft nights. He rated the Pistons as one of the best in the league, giving them an A-.
The Pistons started the night addressing a major need and ended the night swinging for the fences with one of the best young talents in the draft.
Taking Monroe at No. 7 wasn’t the Pistons’ original hope; they wanted DeMarcus Cousins. But Monroe was the second-best big man on the board, and he brings a lot to the table. He’s the draft’s best-passing big man, he competes on the boards, and he has some sophistication to his offensive repertoire. On the other hand, he doesn’t have the elite athleticism or length the Pistons really desire.
With their second-round pick, the Pistons went the opposite direction. White isn’t as skilled or fundamentally sound as Monroe, but he is one of this draft’s best athletes and has the versatility to play both backcourt positions. If not for his off year, he would’ve been a potential lottery pick based on his physical tools, so getting him at No. 36 was a steal.
Mike Payne of SB Nation’s Detroit Bad Boys weighs the pros and cons of the Monroe pick and likes what he sees, but he tries to keep expectations reasonable.
Always the pessimist, I find it important to get the negatives out of the way first. This is what Greg Monroe will likely never be: a respected defender, a shot blocker, an offensive rebounder, a solid ball-handler or a sure-thing shooter. Save for the shooting, these are all terribly important needs in a center, and while Monroe may have the size to body up on many NBA centers, his questionable post and man-to-man defense could present a problem for the Pistons on the defensive end. There’s no reason he can’t improve on that side of the court, but the body of work he has established suggests that we will see a step back in how our team defends not only centers, but driving guards and slashing forwards.
Greg Monroe has developed a basketball IQ the likes of which an NBA draft has not seen in many years. While a player like DeMarcus Cousins has a tremendous instinct on the court and un-relenting physicality, Greg Monroe appears to be a calculated, educated player whose game is based on an understanding of body control, offensive mechanics and court awareness. It is on this playing style that Monroe excelled in Georgetown’s Princeton Offense, becoming the anchor of a team’s scoring in the post that could score facing the basket and dish to cutting forwards and guards parked on the perimeter.