Who says that the NBA isn’t a big man’s league anymore? Sure the league is no longer filled with the 20-10 big men that used to own the hardwood but there are still plenty of good centers in the league today and the Detroit Pistons’ Greg Monroe is one of them.
You won’t hear his name much because, well, he plays for the Pistons who haven’t won much in recent years but Monroe has played well despite his team’s struggles though.
Monroe has the pedigree to become an All-Star caliber center. He played his college ball at Georgetown which has long had a reputation for developing big men like Dikembe Mutombo, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and most recently Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers.
While Monroe’s second-year averages of 15.4 points and 9.6 rebounds don’t look that great they were a big improvement over his rookie numbers of 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds. He also improved his assists from 1.3 to 2.3 per game.
With the exception of his blocked shots, all of Monroe’s numbers were better than Hibbert’s were last season and Hibbert went to the All-Star game. Hibbert who was in his fourth season averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2 blocked shots per game.
What’s scary is that Monroe has so much more room to grow. He led the Pistons in scoring and looks to continue to be a focal point of their offense going forward.
His scoring and rebounding are right on pace with Dwight Howard’s numbers in his second year in the league. If Monroe continues to progress in those areas and can ever improve on his paltry shot blocking numbers then he could reserve himself a permanent seat at the All-Star game the way Howard has.
The center position is probably the easiest position to crack in terms of making the All-Star game as long as you are producing good numbers but if Monroe wants to accelerate his path to All-star status then he needs to find a way to help his team win more games.
And in order to do that he is going to have to learn how to affect the game on both sides of the ball. It’s hard to believe that a 6’11” center who led his team in scoring last season couldn’t crack the top 50 in blocked shots last year.
Even Washington Wizards’ point guard John Wall was able to crack the top 40 so there is no excuse for Monroe.
It’s too early to panic though. Monroe has a long and promising career ahead of him and he will get better as time progresses. And if he can make another big jump like the one he made this season then it’ll be his opponents doing the panicking.
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Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.