The Cleveland Cavaliers have about $17 million in cap space to spend this summer, but could clear up around $23 million to offer a max contract. In the following few weeks here at Right Down Euclid, we will be profiling players the Cavaliers might pick up during the free agency period. Today, we profile Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe. Click here for more free agency profiles.
Tale of the Tape
Name: Greg Monroe
Prior Team: Detroit Pistons
Weight: 253 lbs.
2013-14 Per Game Stats: 15.2 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.1 APG,1.1 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 49.7 FG%, 0.0 3PT%, 65.7 FT% (82 GP, 82 GS)
Career Per Game Stats: 14.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 50.8 FG%, 0.0 3PT%, 67.8 FT% (309 GP, 277 GS)
The summer has been nothing if not eventful for the Cleveland Cavaliers. First, they hired a new head coach in David Blatt. Then they selected Andrew Wiggins with the first overall pick in the draft. Finally, they started off free agency with a bang by signing Kyrie Irving to a five-year maximum contract extension, keeping Uncle Drew in Cleveland until 2020. Even now as this is being written, Utah Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward is in town and the Cavaliers are rumored to be planning on signing him to a maximum contract offer. Another thing the Cavaliers need to do this summer is upgrade their frontcourt, and one player that would help them do so is Detroit Pistons restricted free agent Greg Monroe. A 24-year old who has averaged 16 points and 10.3 rebounds per 36 minutes during his four-year career, Monroe is sure to garner interest from many teams across the league.
At 6’-11” with a 7’-2.25” wingspan and a 9’-05” standing reach, Monroe possesses great size for his position. This size along with his weight of 253 pounds allows him to bang down low with any big man in the league. Monroe is also able to use his size to create space to grab a high percentage of available rebounds. Monroe does lack elite athleticism, which hinders him as a shot blocker and defender.
While he primarily played the power forward position due to the presence of Andre Drummond on the Pistons, Monroe is undoubtedly a center. At 24-years old and with a high level of basketball skill, Monroe would be an immediate help to the Cavaliers on the offensive end. An absolute beast in the post, Monroe has averaged 17.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per 36 minutes of action over the last three years. Monroe also has a very impressive PER of 19.86 over this time, and while it has decreased in each of the last three years, much of that can be explained due to Detroit fielding a roster of players who fit poorly together, forcing Monroe to play out of position at power forward with little outside shooting around him.
On the negative side is Monroe’s defense. He is not a rim protector and has averaged only 0.7 blocks per 36 minutes for his career. Last season opposing centers had a 17.2 PER while guarded by Monroe and power forwards averaged 23.7 points and 11.3 rebounds per 48 minutes while posting a PER of 21.2 (that’s All-Star level, folks). Besides his lack of rim protection, Monroe is not quick or athletic enough to guard many power forwards in the league.
Monroe has been known as a high-character player throughout his career. He has played hard for a variety of coaches and does what he can to fit into whatever role he has. While there have been rumors that Monroe does not want to play with fellow Pistons forwards Josh Smith anymore, there is no denying that the frontcourt of Monroe, Smith and Drummond has not worked out for Detroit.
How Does He Fit on the Cavaliers?
How does Greg Monroe fit with the Cleveland Cavaliers? The answer is truly a mixed bag. Offensively, Monroe would give the Cavaliers an inside presence that they sorely lack. He would command attention and often a double team that would help free up Irving, Waiters and Wiggins to attack the rim and get open shots off from beyond the arc. While the Cavaliers struggled to play with a post presence in Andrew Bynum last year, Monroe does not have Bynum’s knee issues. His passing skills also make him a solid fit for a David Blatt offense, as he could help keep the ball moving. Unfortunately his lack of ability on the defensive end may negate what he brings on offense. The Cavaliers need a big man who can protect the rim, and Monroe is simply not that kind of player. If one of the Cavaliers’ other big men was a capable shot blocker, then the team could cover for Monroe’s deficiencies on the offensive end. Unfortunately, while Anderson Varejao is still a solid defender and Tristan Thompson has shown potential on this end, neither men have the defensive skills to cover up for Monroe, especially since he is incapable of chasing perimeter fours and is atrocious at defending the pick and roll. Finally, when you consider that Monroe will probably command a maximum level contract, but is not really a max level player, it may be best that the Cavaliers allocate their money towards players who fit their needs better and do not create even more needs on the defensive end.