CBS Sports has ranked Pistons center Greg Monroe as the 40th best NBA player in this season’s edition of their Elite 100, the top 100 players in the league. Their rankings take into on-court (production, basketball IQ, decision making) and off-court (team fit, character issues, projected improvement) criteria.
Here’s their take on Monroe, who ranked above other more-publicized forwards and centers like Amar’e Stoudemire, Serge Ibaka and DeMarcus Cousins:
2012 Stats: 15.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.3 spg, 0.7 bpg, .521 eFG%, 22.0 PER
Ranking: 42, 36, 51
Monroe has a better-than-decent chance of making the All-Star Game this season. He’s shown considerable development in his early seasons, and with a better Pistons club could be primed for a breakout, especially if rookie Andre Drummond can give Detroit a big man to pair with him. Monroe has a nifty lefty hook, a good combination of moves and terrific footwork. Defense is the real question mark with him, but even that showed signs last season.
The biggest plus is his consistency. He manages to make an impact in nearly every game, and even when he doesn’t contribute to the scoreboard, it’s usually the defense’s focus on him that’s opening things for the other players. The Pistons are Monroe’s team for the foreseeable future.
Watching Monroe play the last two seasons, and reading about the amount of work he’s put in this offseason, it’s hard to disagree with that assessment. With the Pistons having a rough last couple of years, the former Georgetown big man certainly hasn’t gotten as much attention as he probably deserved. With another solid season in 2012, and a smaller amount of All-Star-caliber centers in the Eastern Conference now that Dwight Howard is gone, Monroe could take a big leap.
Like their review says, this will be Monroe’s team for the foreseeable future. He’s emerged into the leader that Joe Dumars surely hoped he would become on draft night, although he might not have expected him to become arguably the best player from that class. Either way, if the Pistons hope to return to relevancy, they will continue to build around Monroe.