It is unconscionable to bring up the potential of the forthcoming big men in the league without including these two players’ names in the funky bunch.
Both Greg Monroe and Andrew Bynum have had their shaky moments, Bynum more than Monroe apparently. But, both are coming into their own around the same time during a season when franchises need all the help they can get.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in a totally different league of sorts than the Detroit Pistons, so comparing their impact on the league would be unfair to Monroe on more than a single level. However, the potential that each player has grasped and shown consistently so far has brought about a certain debate that may spark the preparation of the throne behind Dwight Howard.
So, what is it going to be? Would you take Greg Monroe or Andrew Bynum?
Maybe it is because my hometown glory forces me to be a bit biased, but Greg Monroe wins this debate by a landslide. Detroiters stick behind their franchise’s leading men with a vengeance, for better and for much better.
When things are on the downslide, the crowd may be contained, but the love never dies. Monroe is showing out for his squad every night and the audience, no matter how empty seats may appear, has taken notice.
- Mood and Temperament
Greg Monroe obviously wins this battle. Bynum swiping little JJ Barea out of the air trademarked such an up and down season for him and the Lakers’ organization as a whole. After being prematurely routed in a series sweep by the Dallas Mavericks, who were predicted to be boosted out by the Portland Trailblazers in the first round, Bynum’s temperament proved to be vicious and more physically violent than fans would have hoped.
He ripped his jersey off in LeBron, pre-Decision, fashion and was escorted off of the court by Ron—I mean Metta World Peace, himself. The same man who sparked a brawl in the stands against Detroit Pistons’ fans and the Indiana Pacers was actually the voice of reason for the young head that let his pride and ego get the best of him.
Can you imagine Monroe slamming Ricky Rubio to the ground instead of letting him get the easy layup?
Monroe’s sometime timid nature may not produce the aggressiveness of the Pistons of the Bad Boys’ era. But, it most definitely guarantees that his frustration level would never force him to take cheap shots at an opposing player that would not only bruise his team’s chances to win, but blemish his reputation in the league with officials and fans.
Talent is not the only thing that matters in game time. Perception has become the equivalent of reality and Monroe would be allotted the benefit of the doubt in a call because of his history. Bynum, on the other hand, would not.
- Franchise Role
Against the Golden State Warriors, there was a technical free throw to be made. While other Detroit Pistons’ players waited in the wings for someone to step up as if there was some death-defying request to conquer, Greg Monroe readily stepped to the line and knocked it down.
It may have only been a single point on the scoreboard, but it signaled a shift of power in the locker room and placed Monroe at the head of the food chain. It showed the unmasked potential of leadership that he is willing to display during a crucial rebuilding period in the franchise’s timeline. Monroe is averaging 17.2 points per, but that does not tell the tale of the four double-doubles he has had so far this season out of 13 games, including a 32-point and 16-rebound game in which he shot for 75% from the field against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The game was lost in the end due to a surge in the fourth quarter from veteran guards Brandon Jennings and Stephen Jackson. However, it was only a showing of things to come from the second-year Georgetown standout.
Andrew Bynum’s role with the Los Angeles Lakers, no matter how propelled by his own production, will always be in the shadow of Kobe Bryant. This is not to shun him or what he is capable of achieving in purple and gold. Bynum’s offense and defense has been stout and solid for the Lakers this season, even in such a short showing.
But, Bryant is and always will be the Lakers’ headliner and there is no guarantee that Bynum will outlast him in California. Forty-point linings in the Laker’s seemingly dark cloud of no CP3, no Lamar Odom and no Shannon Brown have solidified everything that reports have doubted about the aging, yet amazingly relevant superstar.
Bynum may be the second-option, but there will never be a time in his career, as long as Kobe is around, where he will be the first.
- Skill Set
It puts Andrew Bynum at a slight disadvantage that Kwame Brown stepped up to take credit for the level he is playing at most recently. Then again, it discredits everything he said in the interview when he called himself one of the better defenders in the league.
As you are tossing question marks around his entire statement as he tried to boost his own ego after a loss, take a look at what Bynum has been able to do early on.
He has this scorer’s scope on that makes him the second option in front of Pau Gasol, who has more than explaining to do after he disappeared in the entire playoffs last season. At least Bynum showed emotion. Gasol seemingly allowed a lack of rumor control and locker room melee to affect his mentality on the court.
Bynum is a great defender and dominates the low block as one of the best in the league. His lingering injury provides room for concern, but there is no doubt that when healthy, he makes an immense impact on team’s ability to pull down those offensive rebounds and box out. Bynum is the second most solid scorer on the team and finds a way to make his presence felt on either side of the floor.
But, do not shrug your shoulders at Greg Monroe either.
What makes him so dangerous a weapon for the Detroit Pistons is the development of his mid-range game and his continued efficiency from the line. Monroe is only 21 years of age, which makes the strides he has made since last season mean so much more.
In only his second season in the league, Monroe has highlighted his passing game, improved upon his aggression defensively and adds so much offensively all in the same stroke. Monroe means everything to the Pistons because of his guard vision, center defense around the rim and mid-distance floater.
The ceiling of potential has yet to be reached, but there is no doubt, as it is amongst Bynum believers, that Monroe will grasp it.
Both Andrew Bynum and Greg Monroe are steadfast fractions to what their respective franchises will be able to accomplish beyond this season. But, Monroe’s role in the Detroit Pistons overrides Bynum’s fiery start.
Building a team around Monroe would allow a general manager to pursue players that complement his skill set as a solid scoring, offense-manufacturing, low post threat. He is the Pistons’ leading man while Bynum is the Lakers’ second man in command.
Who would you rather build around: A number one or a number two?