At the conclusion of the 2013-2014 NBA season, Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe’s rookie contract will expire, making him a restricted free-agent. Monroe has been productive in his first three seasons in the league and looks to be a part of the team’s future. However, this season is important for him, for the Pistons, and their future together.
Monroe is more than likely going to see more time at the power forward in the upcoming season, the reason being the emergence of Andre Drummond as a potential star at the center position. Drummond is a more prototypical center with more upside than Monroe, but Detroit undoubtedly wants both players on the floor, which explains the decision to give him more minutes at the four.
Last season, playing the bulk of his minutes at center, Monroe averaged 16 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 33.3 minutes per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the floor. Monroe was solid offensively last season, but really struggled on the defensive end of the floor in terms of defending isolations and post-ups and when he was matched up against powerful opposing centers.
Moving Monroe to the power forward will help hide a lot his deficiencies defensively, though. Drummond will have a distinct size advantage on most of the opponents that he’s matched up with, eliminating most of his shortcomings when he’s being posted up. Moreover, Monroe was the 85th ranked player in terms of points per possession when defending spot-up attempts last season, something that will play in his favor when defending stretch fours.
Monroe should also be able to have more success offensively. Monroe had his least efficient offensive season of his brief career last year. However, with his size, he should be able to body-up most power forwards around the league and have more success in post-up situations.
The biggest thing for Monroe, though, is that he has to deliver on what the Pistons expect to happen with his move to the power forward. If Monroe succeeds, he could get a good bit of money from Detroit in the summer of 2014, especially if another team tries to force the Pistons to match a large offer sheet. If he fails to live up to expectations, though, his future with Detroit is a little more uncertain.