Testing the free agency market for the first time in his career, Greg Monroe will have a lot of suitors this summer. The New York Knicks and Boston Celtics top that list.
Whether you think he’s worth it or not, Monroe is going to get a big, long-term deal from some team this summer. The Celtics and Knicks might be in the lead to get him because of their cap space and their desperation mode concerning signing a significant offensive threat down low, but Monroe is also the kind of player it seems the NBA is moving away from. So is he the right choice?
Looking at his averages isn’t going to reveal the answer. Monroe has shared the frontcourt with a dominant Andre Drummond and also Josh Smith in recent years. He’s averaged around the 15-16 points per game for the last four years with his per minute numbers slightly rising. Maybe more importantly is looking at his net rating last season (+7), scoring a career high 26.6 points per 100 possessions.
Monroe isn’t a defensive monster (far from it) and is good on the boards, not special. But under Stan Van Gundy he improved in certain aspects. The question is whether or not he has improved enough to do it on his own or he still needs Van Gundy, who has proven success with big men in his NBA career, to show him how to tap into all of his potential.
The Knicks are a mess considering there’s really nothing there besides Carmelo Anthony, who might not be working well with the offensive system they are so feverishly trying to teach and install. Things might be better for Monroe at Boston where Brad Stevens seems to know a lot more about how to infuse players and change things up, although the roster there is also far from complete.
Monroe is looking for a max deal, nothing less. He might settle for slightly less and in any case, it’s probably not going to be in Detroit, who feel they can afford to lose him and still not fall into further rebuilding phases they’ve already started with. Last offseason cost Monroe money, and also taught him teams don’t think that highly of him. This offseason will tell him if scouts and general managers around the league think he’s actually improved.